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Menachem Mautner, Law and the Culture of Israel Review by Gad Barzilai

Nadav G. Shelef, Evolving Nationalism: Homeland, Identity, and Religion in Israel, 1925–2005 Review by Ilan Peleg

Susan A. Glenn and Naomi B. Sokoloff, eds., Boundaries of Jewish Identity Review by Kirsten Fermaglich

Arieh Bruce Saposnik, Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine Review by Nina S. Spiegel

King Abdullah II, Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril Review by Saliba Sarsar

Leslie Stein, The Making of Modern Israel: 1948–1967 Review by Pierre M. Atlas

Joyce Dalsheim, Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project Review by Myron J. Aronoff

Beverley Milton-Edwards, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A People’s War 180 Review by Raphael Cohen-Almagor

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Shai Ginsburg, Rhetoric and Nation: The Formation of Hebrew National Culture, 1880–1990 Review by Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi

Anat Helman, Becoming Israeli: National Ideals & Everyday Life in the 1950s Review by Dafna Hirsch

Madelaine Adelman and Miriam Fendius Elman, eds., Jerusalem: Conflict and Cooperation in a Contested City Review by Shlomo Hasson

Adam Rovner, In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands Before Israel Review by Michael Brenner

Fran Markowitz, Stephen Sharot, and Moshe Shokeid, eds., Towards an Anthropology of Nation Building and Unbuilding in Israel Review by Russell Stone

Guy Ziv, Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel Review by Oded Haklai

R. Amy Elman, The European Union, Antisemitism, and the Politics of Denial Review by Alona Fisher

Rachel S. Harris, An Ideological Death: Suicide in Israeli Literature Review by Adia Mendelson-Maoz

David Ohana, The Origins of Israeli Mythology: Neither Canaanites Nor Crusaders Review by Ian S. Lustick

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Conceptions of Nation and Ethnicity in Swedish Children's Films

The Case of Kidz in da Hood (Förortsungar, 2006)

Anders Wilhelm Åberg

Swedish children's films frequently deal with issues of nation and ethnicity, specifically with “Swedishness”. This may be most obvious in films based on the works of Astrid Lindgren, which abound with nostalgic images of the national culture and landscape. However, films about contemporary Sweden, such as Kidz in da Hood (Förortsungar, 2006) address these issues too. Kidz in da Hood is about children in the ethnically diverse suburbs of Stockholm and it tells the story of a young fugitive, Amina, who is cared for by a young bohemian musician. It is, interestingly, a remake of one of the first Swedish children's films, Guttersnipes (Rännstensungar, 1944). In this article I argue that Kidz in da Hood is a contradictory piece, in the sense that it both celebrates and disavows “Swedishness”, as it substitutes the class conict of Guttersnipes for ethnic conflict.

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Writing Difference / Claiming General Validity

Jovan Dučić's Cities and Chimaeras and the West

Vladimir Gvozden

The travel texts of Jovan Dučić (1872-1943) merit analysis not only because he is generally regarded as a significant and influential modernist writer (his lyrics, refined in phrasing and form, show the influence of the Parnassians and the Symbolists), but also because he is a prominent figure in the modernization of Serbian culture. As early as 1936, Dučić's contemporary Nikola Mirković stressed the importance of the poet's role in the process of 'the modernization of Serbian literature and culture' (Mirković 1936: 335). By the same token, he is widely considered by both literary scholars and the public to have been obsessed with 'the great and wise West' (Deretić 1987: 205) - a writer who brought about a great synthesis of Serbian and Western literature, especially in his poetry from the first decades of the twentieth century. His letters from Switzerland, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Palestine and Egypt appeared first in literary magazines and/or in the influential Belgrade newspaper Politika. The separate parts of his travelogue were then collected under the title of Gradovi i himere [Cities and Chimaeras], and were published twice during the author's life, in 1930 and 1940. The book is both a text about culture (or cultures), as well as an indispensable text within Serbian national culture.

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Affinities with the 'Old' Continent or the 'Fatherland'

Assent and Dissent in U.S. Culture, 1830-1940

Waldemar Zacharasiewicz

Travel accounts invariably juxtapose the country visited, the cultural practices of its inhabitants and its sites and institutions with the corresponding phenomena in the country of origin. This frequently gives rise to, or reflects, ethical dilemmas since the process of cross-cultural representation involved naturally prompts an assessment of the cultural assets and the liabilities of the country of origin. The following article concerns itself with American accounts of travels to the ‘Old World’, especially to Germany and other parts of Central Europe, with reflections on United States society as a result of the encounter with the ‘Fatherland’ or certain aspects of other national cultures in Europe. This article sheds light on the significance of Germany to American travellers and its importance for the cultural debate in the United States. It examines the increasing attention paid to Germany because of its rise to a cultural centre in Europe. It also takes into consideration the ever growing number of immigrants to the United States from Germany and deals with the complex differentiation between German-speaking people. It further notes the awareness of American observers of the denominational divide between predominantly Protestant northern Germany and its Catholic south, which until the Great War included the German-speaking parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The various subregions of Germany elicited different reactions from the visitors depending on their own religion and cultural background. The study also pays special attention to American travellers from the Southern States, whose well-documented reactions to their European journeys deserve special consideration as they have been less frequently analyzed than those of their Northern compatriots.

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Convergence in Social Welfare Systems

From Evidence to Explanations

Denis Bouget

After the Second World War, the view that people of every nation would be entitled to experience rising standards of living pervaded all corners of the globe. Convergence was seen as a positive way of achieving a Golden Age and a peaceful and affluent utopia, through modernisation and technical progress. Within this general belief, the development of national social welfare systems in Europe in the postwar period appears to be the outcome of autonomous national processes. The construction of Europe, which imposed common rules in many areas, was nonetheless consistent with the national development of social welfare systems within each national culture. The idea of a common system of social protection has always been linked to European political and economic construction, which was expected to create a more cohesive society. Reference is made constantly to convergence as a catching-up process in the comparative evaluation of national social policies, but the implementation of an ambitious European system of social protection and the creation of harmonised national welfare systems have always proved to be impossible. The paper focuses on two specific topics. Firstly, it examines attempts to quantify convergence among EU and OECD countries at the macro-economic level, using social indicators to assess the convergence or divergence of social expenditure. The evidence of convergence is shown to be ambiguous due to a number of methodological problems. Secondly, two main interpretations of convergence are examined: economic forces and legal frameworks. The paper shows that the analysis of national trajectories of social expenditure and the link with economic development can enrich the analysis of convergence or divergence in social protection. Even if the maturation or reform of national social policies explains the origins of increases in social expenditure, macro-economic pressures, or constraints (globalisation, Single Market), on public expenditure can fuel certain type of convergence. In all the developed countries, social welfare systems are based on national legal frameworks. A goal of social Europe is not only to work towards European solidarity but also to build common social rights throughout Europe. Convergence of national social welfare systems can, therefore, be interpreted as a component in a general process of convergence in law within the developed countries, especially within Europe. However, common explanations of convergence in social welfare systems often neglect elements of divergence. They, therefore, conceal the complexity of the process and very often underestimate the full extent of divergence.