Thesis: Melamed, Israeli Homemade Video Memorials and the Politics of Loss

Melamed, Laliv. Sovereign Intimacy: Israeli Homemade Video Memorials and the Politics of Loss, PhD dissertation. New York: New York University, 2015.
 
URL: http://gradworks.umi.com/37/40/3740826.html
 
Abstract

Sovereign Intimacy takes as its subject of investigation video memorialization of dead Israeli soldiers done by their close family and friends. Mixing private loss, home-made video production, military conduct, state politics, and an institutionalized commemoration, it redraws the affinities between affective intimacy and forms of governing. It delineates the reshaping of sovereignty by filial relationships, video practicing and aesthetics, state and military administration of death and mass media. Sovereign Intimacy inquires into the political currencies of mourning and loss.

The videos respond to an event triggered by operations of state violence—figured by military power—with a personal lamenting of the breaking of intimate ties. These videos are made by the family and for the family, through amateur and semi-amateur modes of production. Although they were meant to be privately circulated, this phenomenon emerged in tandem to the videos being broadcast on television during the events of the National Memorial Day.

Home-made video memorials become a standard of Israeli memorialization during the 1990s. Largely the result of waning public support of the Israeli occupation of the south of Lebanon, and of a growing disavowal of state authority, the phenomenon represented a potential challenge to hegemonic narratives and aesthetic forms, through the appropriation of memory and means of production. However, it did not make way to a new political voice to emerge. Instead, these videos emotionalized violence and victimized its deliverers. Furthermore, the broadcasting of the videos on television—allegedly as a tribute to the families, a communal gesture of listening and a call for solidarity—participated in a national economy of death in which the lives of Lebanese, Palestinians and marginalized people within Israeli society had no value. Lastly, the phenomenon of memorial videos normalized the growing militarization of civil society and neutralized any call for political action.

 

 

 

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New Book: Mechter and Maya-Mechter, Between the Intimate and the Anonymous in Urban Space

Mechter, Eytan, and Avital Maya. Between the Intimate and the Anonymous in Urban Space. A Socio-Cultural Perspective on Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2016 (in Hebrew).

 
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This book seeks to contribute to the socio-cultural discourse on the first Hebrew-cosmopolitan city, a discourse that may serve as an alternative to the conventional economic content in relation to urban processes. The attempt to decipher the secret of the transformation of the first Hebrew city into a “world city” will be made by examining the uniqueness of the culture and ethos of Tel Aviv in connection with universal norms. The socio-cultural discussion presents the tension between rationality and desire that late capitalism is based on, while highlighting the manifestations of this tension in the urban, local, and general arenas–both by the conquest of space through capital and in the design of and objectified consciousness and consumerist styles.

Multiculturalism and density are distinct urban characteristics contributing to urban activity based on openness, creativity, innovation and sophistication, but also reflect expressions of convergence and alienation. The individuation process serves as a central axis f or the translation of the rational subject into an object of consumerist desire as a result of the capitalist system. Individuation and the process of self-branding encourage the growth of various forms of unique and dynamic identities and styles, but hinder the constructions of relationships based on emotions and commitment. “The neighborhood community” is offered in this book as a possible solution to anonymity and the instrumentalism of interpersonal relationships, a solution which enables interpersonal relationships in the metropolin without disrupting the dynamic nature of variability and diversity, while creating a stable core, whether territorial or virtual.

The concluding chapter discusses the spiritual challenge of the big city to cultivate expressions of “Hard Liberty” following Levinas, as a substitute for the splitting of the subject and the self-alienation which endanger the urban soul.

 

Eytan Mechter is a scholar and lecturer of sociology of culture at the NB Haifa School of Design, Holon Institute of Technology, and the Arts Faculty of the Kibbutzim College.Avital Maya Mechter was a lecture of creative education at Hemdat Hadarom college.

 

 

 

New Article: Kohn, Mehubarot: A Peep without a Show

Kohn, Ayelet. “Mehubarot: A Peep without a Show.” Jewish Film & New Media 3.2 (2015): 170-92.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jewish_film_new_media_an_international_journal/v003/3.2.kohn.html

 

Abstract
The Israeli television series Mehubarot (Connected, 2009) follows five Israeli women who use their performance before the camera—through both visual and spoken texts—as a means of biographical representation which blends public and private aspects of their daily lives. This article examines the use of spoken language as a central tool for signaling sincerity and closeness on the series’ visual stage, focusing on the unique setting of Israeli society and the exclusive genre of a televised diary in its written and spoken modes.

Unlike blogs or videos uploaded to the internet, which are contemporary precedents for this kind of intimate exposure in the public arena, the genre under discussion relies on established conventions of television and cinema to convey intimacy. Mehubarot is inspired by documentaries and films that use voiceover as an established device for informing the viewers of the characters’ thoughts. In its methods of presenting the “diaries,” the series also adopts patterns of confession and exposure commonly used in televised platforms that follow ongoing projects of identity construction, and frequently present them as journeys of self-discovery and personal development. Following a discussion of the series’ unique features, the article’s second part focuses on the journalist Dana Spector and the contradictory readings of her private-public identity, social and family identity, and “celebrity” identity in their transfer from the newspaper column to the television arena.

 

 

New Article: Marshall, Love Stories of the Occupation

Marshall, David Jones. “Love Stories of the Occupation: Storytelling and the Counter-Geopolitics of Intimacy.” Area 46.4 (2014): 349-51.

 

URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/area.12138_3/abstract

 

Abstract

Though research on Israel/Palestine often privileges the macro-geopolitical perspective, a growing body of work has begun to catalogue the ways in which the violence of occupation is carried out through intimate spaces and practices. However, often missing from such accounts is an understanding of intimacy as a counter-veiling political force. Looking at the ‘Love Under Apartheid’ project in Palestine, and queer anti-occupation organising in Israel, this paper considers how storytelling can serve as both a research methodology and political intervention, changing the way geopolitical stories are told and unfold.

New Article: Kulik and Kitaichik, Marital Intimacy ad Gender Roles: Israeli Husbands and Wives

Kulik, Liat and Danielle Kitaichik. “Marital Intimacy and Selected Correlates of Gender Roles: A Comparative Analysis of Israeli Husbands and Wives.” Women’s Studies 43.6 (2014): 823-42.

 

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00497878.2014.921509

 

 

Excerpt

In light of the finding that a liberal gender role ideology increases the sense of intimacy among husbands as well as among wives—and because men typically tend to maintain a more traditional gender role ideology than women do—marital counselors should encourage the adoption of a liberal gender role ideology not only as a goal in itself but also as a means of enhancing marital intimacy among husbands and wives.
Moreover, in the process of intervention, counselors should adopt an approach that emphasizes that if women are nurturing and compassionate they can also assert power and feel empowered in the marital relationship. Most important, the counseling approach should be based on the perception of the new woman, which combines both feminine and masculine characteristics as expressed in the term “agency in community.” Apparently, the challenge that counselors face today is to help women find the appropriate balance in the application of this concept in their daily lives.

ToC: Israel Studies Review 28,2 (2013)

Guest Editors’ Introduction: Rethinking the Family in Israel

pp. vii-xii(6)
Authors: Fogiel-Bijaoui, Sylvie; Rutlinger-Reiner, Reina

Articles: The Transformation of Intimacies

pp. 1-17(17)
Author: Engelberg, Ari

Articles: Families in Transition

pp. 83-101(19)
Author: Rutlinger-Reiner, Reina

Articles: The Boundaries of Family Life

pp. 140-156(17)
Author: Lustenberger, Sibylle

Articles: Legal Discourse, Private Life

pp. 210-227(18)
Author: Fogiel-Bijaoui, Sylvie

Articles: Articles: Legal Discourse, Private Life

pp. 247-263(17)
Author: Mazeh, Yoav

pp. 300-313(14)
Author: Kreiczer-Levy, Shelly

Book Reviews

pp. 314-324(11)