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Uta Larkey

This article analyzes contrasting notions of Heimat and Fremde, as explored cinematographically by three contemporary German filmmakers. The spatial aspect of Heimat, traditionally connected to a particular region or even neighborhood denotes the sense of belonging, whereas the temporal aspect—often associated with childhood and youth—carries the sense of longing. In the second half of the twentieth century, the concept has shifted to include identity, reflection and self-reflection, the loss of Heimat, and even multiple Heimaten. The article argues further that the notions of Heimat and Fremde are not mutually exclusive, but interdependent. Peter Lilienthal's film Ein Fremder concludes that in parts of German society the binary opposites of Heimat and Fremde are still intact. On the other hand, Peter Patzak in Adeus und Goodbye shows how Heimat and Fremde are mutually dependent and include a search for identity and individuality. In Michael Gutmann's travelogue-documentary, Familienreise, the protagonists experience aspects of Fremde and Heimatlosigkeit without ever finding Heimat.

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Leah Rosen and Ruth Amir

This study is part of a wider research, which examines different strategies of exclusion and inclusion in public discourse and in the construction of collective memory in Israel. At the beginning of the 1930s, following the great economic crisis and the rise of National Socialism in Germany, a plan was conceived to send Jewish German youth to Palestine. Thus began the Project of Youth Aliyah, and with it the debate within the Zionist Movement and the Yishuv in Palestine on the proper station of immigrants in the emerging Israeli national identity. We characterize the discourse on the young refugees in the 1930s by highlighting two issues: first, the aims of the project for the emigration of Jewish German youth; and secondly, the national identity which should be inculcated in these young immigrants.

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Ephraim Yuchtman-Yaar, Yasmin Alkalay and Tom Aival

Ethnicity and religious identity are two major interrelated cleavages within the Israeli-Jewish electorate. Previously, ethnicity’s effect had a stronger impact on voting patterns, while today religious identity is more influential. Former studies conceived religious identity in terms of levels of observance, such as Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox. We claim that each of these groups has unique characteristics independent of degree of religious identity. To test this hypothesis, we measure religious identity as a nominal variable, applying an interactive model that compares the effects of the pairings of religious identity and ethnicity to a common baseline. Data from before the 2015 elections reveal that religious identity has stronger effects than ethnicity: religious groups support the right more than the secular. However, the ultra-Orthodox tend to support the right to a lesser extent than other religious groups. In closing, we compare the role of religious identity in Israel to its status in today’s world.

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Redefining the Engagé

Intellectual Identity in Fin de Siècle France

Sarah Shurts

There is a tendency to see the history of intellectual engagement during the Dreyfus Affair as a study of the Dreyfusard Left. However, this approach marginalizes the existence of self-proclaimed intellectuals of the anti-Dreyfusard Right and diminishes our appreciation of the complexity of the debates. This article explores the efforts of self-proclaimed anti-Dreyfusard intellectuals, such as Maurice Barrès, to claim the title of intellectual, redefine intellectual responsibility according to right-wing values, and reconstruct intellectual collective identity around their own social and cultural experience.

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I’m Not Loud, I’m Outspoken

Narratives of Four Jamaican Girls’ Identity and Academic Success

Rowena Linton and Lorna McLean

Black females achieve high standards of success yet their lived experiences are frequently absent from educational literature in Canada. This article documents the navigational strategies adopted by four Jamaican-Canadian girls to achieve academic success and discusses how they conceptualized their identity and the role(s) their identity played in their schooling experiences. In contrast to the deficiencies that are often highlighted in studies on the schooling experiences of black students, we draw on critical theories to shed light on the positive aspects of these black females’ schooling experiences. Such an approach disrupts negative views of black students as lagging behind in education and provides examples for other students on how to excel in the face of educational barriers. These narratives provide education policy makers with current perspectives on how students struggle to overcome obstacles to achieve academic success in a system that promises to be accessible to all students.

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Ambivalent Atheist Identities

Power and Non-religious Culture in Contemporary Britain

Lois Lee

In Britain, most non-theists and atheists do not identify themselves as such in explicit terms, yet non-theistic cultural threads are interwoven through everyday discourses. This article calls for more extensive ethnographic engagement with these more diffuse—and therefore less visible and less commonly researched—forms of non-religious culture. Based on exploratory fieldwork conducted in South East England, it draws attention to one set of these indistinct non-religious forms: 'authentic' and 'inauthentic' ambivalent atheist and non-religious self-understandings and self-representations. It demonstrates how these identities may be subjectively meaningful and culturally significant and how they may be simultaneously empowering and disempowering. Scrutiny of ambivalent atheist identities points to complicated dynamics between non-religion and power and the value of attending to poorly or unmarked non-religious cultures through ethnographic work.

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Shu-Yuan Yang

Christianity functions as a significant identity marker for the Bunun, an Austronesian-speaking indigenous people of Taiwan. However, identity construction and boundary maintenance are not given by them as immediate reasons for conversion. Instead, the continuity between Bunun traditional beliefs and Christianity is commonly viewed as the most important reason why the latter took strong hold among the Bunun. This article aims to explain why this is so, and to illustrate how the Bunun have transformed Christianity from a foreign religion into something that is familiar, indigenous, and of their own. Among the local Christians, theology is downplayed in favor of piety, which is cultivated and expressed through practical activities. Healing, in particular, is seen as a demonstration of the power of the Christian God and constitutes the Bunun experience of Christianity.

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Textbook Conflicts in South Asia

Politics of Memory and National Identity

Deepa Nair

The aftermath of World War II saw the emergence of many new nation-states on the Asian geopolitical map and a simultaneous attempt by these states to claim the agency of nationhood and to create an aura of a homogenous national identity. Textbooks have been the most potent tools used by nations to inject an idea of a national memory - in many instances with utter disregard for fundamental contradictions within the socio-political milieu. In South Asia, political sensitivity towards transmission of the past is reflected in the attempts of these states to revise or rewrite versions which are most consonant with the ideology of dominant players (political parties, religious organizations, ministries of education, publishing houses, NGOs, etc.) concerning the nature of the state and the identity of its citizens. This paper highlights the fundamental fault lines in the project of nation-building in states in South Asia by locating instances of the revision or rewriting of dominant interpretations of the past. By providing an overview of various revisionist exercises in South Asia, an attempt will be made to highlight important issues that are fundamental to the construction of identities in this diverse continent.

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Jewish Secular-Believer Women in Israel

A Complex and Ambivalent Identity

Hagar Lahav

About a quarter of Israeli Jews are secular-believers. They identify themselves as secular but also believe in some kind of divinity (whether or not they use the term ‘God’). As opposed to the ‘secularization thesis’, which perceives such combination of secularism and faith as a contradiction in terms, the current post-secular paradigm sees such hybridity as a deep manifestation of the complex relations between the secular and the religious in postmodern culture. This study offers, for the first time, a deep sociological look at Jewish-Israeli secular-believer women, based on 31 in-depth interviews. It discusses the interviewees’ perceptions of secularity, religion, and Judaism, revealing the complexity and characteristic ambivalence of their identity, while reflecting on similarities and differences between secular-believers and traditionalist (masorti) Israeli Jews.

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Myra Marx Ferree

This article traces four contested identity claims that carry gender meanings into politics and express the gendered tensions awakened along specific dimensions of institutional change across the past twenty years. The cultural definition of the German nation in the face of immigration, the integration of the German state in a transnational project of making a single Europe, the economic restructuring of unification and its effects on the resources and opportunities available on each side of the former wall, and political changes in the representation of women in state offices, by parties and in national policy-making all reflect continuing struggles over the institutionalized boundaries of inclusion and exclusion as a nation, an imagined community. All of these processes engage passionate feelings about gender relations and have implications for the ordinary lives of women and men as citizens and family members in the new Berlin Republic.