MEDIATION AS A PRACTICE OF IDENTITY

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Jackie Feldman Ben Gurion University of the Negev jfeldman@bgu.ac.il

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The performances of the Holy Land for Christian pilgrims by Jewish-Israeli immigrant guides are an expression of belonging to place and history. Through auto-ethnography of my Guiding performance and career path interviews with other immigrant guides, I illustrate how scriptural knowledge, mastery of Hebrew, and the invention of “biblical” rites of hospitality mediate between Christian pilgrims and the land, as well as between Christians and Jews. These performances not only make pilgrims co-producers of the tour; they also assert guides’ claims to nativity. I then compare the performances of such guides with Alaskan cruise guides. I show how the Submission or resistance to the commodifying tourist gaze varies under different gazes, different power conditions, and given other “native” practices of asserting identity and belonging.

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