In this qualitative paper, I have examined how women from a conservative minority group handle their encounter with the values of the majority group as they acquire academic education. This examination was undertaken in the general context of the research tradition that addresses the sociological and anthropological attributes of conservative societies when in confrontation with the processes of moderation, and is based on the acculturation model formulated by Berry. The source materials for this qualitative study are based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 30 Bedouin students. The fact that Bedouin women who wish to study strive to maintain traditional values, such as their manner of dress, indicates their understanding that it is necessary to create change and acquire an academic education in order to earn a suitable salary and aid their communities, while at the same time upholding the boundaries and conventions set by the community. Tradition is thus maintained, and traditional and even religious values continue to exist within the boundaries of the minority group, alongside the stretching of those boundaries and the integration of values from ‘outside’ with those ‘inside.’
Kahanoff, Maya. Jews and Arabs in Israel Encountering Their Identities. Transformations in Dialogue. Lanham and London: Lexington Books and Jerusalem: Van Leer Institute, 2016.
Jews and Arabs in Israel Encountering their Identities reveals the powerful potential of inter-group dialogues to transform identities and mutually negating relations. Using meetings with Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arabian students who attend the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as case studies, Kahanoff examines the hidden psychological dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and illustrates how each participant’s sense of identity shifted in response to encounters with conflicting perspectives. Kahanoff contends that an awareness of the limitations of dialogue, without the renunciation of its value, is the most realistic basis upon which to build a sustainable agreement. This book is recommended for scholars of psychology, sociology, religious studies, political science, and communication studies.
Table of Contents
Part I. Center Stage Conversations
Chapter One: Split Discourse: Jews and Arabs Converse
In this article we problematize the taken-for-granted nature of the dichotomy between Palestinian and Israeli, or Arab and Jew by illustrating how these identity categories are referenced and navigated by Israelis and Palestinians (Arabs and Jews) in their daily life. Using examples from our observations and conversations with individuals in the region, we argue that while the categories of Jewish/Arab and Israel/Palestine serve as dichotomous organizing frameworks, the lived experiences of individuals reveal complexity, variability, and tensions in how these categories are navigated, negotiated, and inhabited. Rather than clear and natural categories, by attending to the specificity of how these categories are discussed and used in everyday life we highlight a middle ground questioning the firmness of this assumed dichotomy. We suggest that attending to the contingent and varied nature of this dichotomy can serve as a starting point to create more inclusive means to discuss identity in the region.
This paper deals with the way migrants’ children process the trans-generational trauma of immigration and examines its impact on the formation of their self-identity. It explores the manifestation of this trauma as present in two highly-notable works by Mizrahi cinematographers. The memory unfolding in these films is a penetrating audio-visual testimony to the immigration trauma with the mark it has left on the psyches and identities of migrants’ children. It argues that the split identity that is a product of both Israeli assimilationist and Mizrahi resistance inhabits the continuum between mourning and melancholy, grief and grievance. Along this continuum, immigrant subjects engage in intergenerational negotiations between mourning and melancholy, while their ethnic melancholy emerges as an alternative mental state to the Eurocentric hegemony.