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Amira Schiff

Official negotiations between parties in ethno-national conflicts too often result in a deadlock. In such cases, the initial consent of opposing parties to sit together at the negotiating table is considered, retrospectively, to be merely a technical and ultimately futile achievement. The numerous failures of negotiations in such conflicts highlight the importance of studying the relationship between the prenegotiation process, which initially brings the parties to the negotiating table, and the results of subsequent formal negotiations, especially in view of the basic premise of the conflict resolution field's 'process school', that is, that effective execution of prenegotiation functions is critical for successful negotiations. This article examines the prenegotiation phase in two recent cases: the dispute over Cyprus in 2004 and the 'Annapolis process' of 2007-2008.

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Dalit Simchai

This article focuses on the concept of identity by juxtaposing New Age philosophy and nationalism in the Israeli context. Based on my qualitative research, I deconstruct the Israeli New Age discourse on ethno-national identity and expose two approaches within this discourse. The more common one is the belief held by most Israelis, according to which ethno-national identity is a fundamental component of one's self. A second and much less prevalent view resembles New Age ideology outside Israel and conceives of ethno-national identities as a false social concept that separate people rather than unite them. My findings highlight the limits of New Age ideology as an alternative to the hegemonic culture in Israel. The difficulty that Israeli New Agers find in divorcing hegemonic conceptualizations demonstrates the centrality and power of ethno-national identity in Israel.

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Anthropology Misapplied?

The Culture Concept and the Peace Process in Ireland

Andrew Finlay

This article is animated by a concern that anthropological ideas of culture, particularly the 'old' idea of culture as the way of life of a distinct people, have been misapplied in the government of Northern Ireland during the period of the peace process. Rather than accept disciplinary responsibility for this, I trace the provenance of the notions of culture and identity implicit in the Good Friday Agreement. While people trained in anthropology have been involved in implementing cultural policy, other disciplines—notably law, history and political science—have been more influential in its conception, with only occasional references to anthropology for legitimation. Paradoxically, the influence of the old anthropological concept of culture is a sign of the relative weakness of anthropological influence in government circles. Ultimately, though, anthropological circumspection in this regard might be preferable to the hasty and vainglorious claims of other academic disciplines.

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Guest Editors' Introduction

Football and Society in Israel—a Story of Interdependence

Tamar Rapoport and Amir Ben Porat

Israel, where it has been played every weekend all over the country since before the establishment of the state. Football is not just a game that children and adults love to play and watch; it also involves individual, group, and collective identities, and local and national identification. Football reflects, and often accentuates, political and social conflicts that highlight ethno-national, class, political, and gender hierarchies and tensions in society. The game is largely dependent on the surrounding context(s) that determines its “relative autonomy,” which shapes its distinguished fandom culture(s) and practices (Rapoport 2016).

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Laurie Kain Hart

Abstract

This article examines how territory, the built environment, and the entropy of material things through time transmit and modulate legacies of ethno-national and global conflicts. Taking the Greek Civil War as a ‘critical event’, framed by its antecedents and its sequelae, I consider how overlapping histories of war at the international tri-state border of northwest Greek Macedonia and in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina shape dwelling, the control of space, and historical memory. The analysis explores how catastrophic events become materially embedded, how events age in place, and what role changing infrastructure plays in the commutation or preservation of injuries suffered in violent, especially internecine, conflict.

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Sacred Journey to a Nation

The Construction of a Shrine in Postwar Kosovo

Anna Di Lellio and Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers

The site of an infamous Serb massacre of a militant Albanian extended family in March 1998 has become the most prominent sacred shrine in postwar Kosovo attracting thousands of Albanian visitors. Inspired by Smith's (2003) 'territorialization of memory' as a sacred source of national identity and MacCannell's (1999 [1976]) five-stage model of 'sight sacralization', this article traces the site's sacred memorial topography, its construction process, its social and material reproductions, and adds a sixth stage to the interpretation - the 'political reproduction'. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the commemorative literature emanating from this shrine and on numerous interviews with core protagonists (including former guerrilla) and visitors, the article explores the ways in which the religious themes of martyrdom and sacrifice, as well as traditionalist ideals of solidarity and militancy, are embodied at the site and give sense to a nation-wide celebration of ethno-national resistance, solidarity and independence.

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Theory for Praxis

Peacemaking, Cunning Recognition, and the Constitution of Enmity

Joyce Dalsheim

This article argues that scholars and activists concerned with peace and social justice in Israel/Palestine may unintentionally undermine their own goals when they abandon theory for praxis through recognition of parties to conflict. Recognition of ethno-national identity in peacemaking efforts helps reproduce the hegemonic order. Recognizing the subaltern here is a form of Elizabeth Povinelli's 'cunning recognition', which may do little more than produce a moral community of the recognizers. This case illustrates a broader pattern in which controversial ideas only succeed in arriving at the center of politics when they can no longer be implemented. It raises concerns about abandoning theory for praxis more generally, suggesting that theory not be abandoned because it is inconvenient for political purposes.

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Uriel Abulof

Israeli Arabs' "future vision" documents are an ethical-political manifesto, contextualized in academic discourse and informed by socio-historical parallels. Hence, this article examines their political ethics in a comparative perspective, by referencing the case of Israeli Arabs along with two other distinct intra-state conflicts: the strife between Anglophones and Francophones in Canada and the struggle between Macedonians and Albanians in Macedonia. These cases illuminate two main ethical-political alternatives to the present pattern of relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Although the Canadian case indicates a renunciation of ethno-nationalism in favor of civic and linguistic patriotism, the Macedonian case presents an attempt to reconcile ethno-national affiliation with democratic principles. Projecting the ethical discussion of the Canadian and Macedonian cases onto Israel, I contend that normative acceptance of the mutual and dual right of self-determination, regarding both the individual's collective identity and the collective's polity, is a precondition for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.

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Jeremy F. Walton and Piro Rexhepi

Over recent decades, Islamic institutions and Muslim communities in the successor nation-states of former Yugoslavia have taken shape against a variegated political and historical topography. In this article, we examine the discourses and politics surrounding Islamic institutions in four post-Yugoslav nation-states: Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Our analysis moves in two directions. On the one hand, we illuminate the historical legacies and institutional ties that unite Muslims across these four contexts. As we argue, this institutional history continues to mandate a singular, hegemonic model of Sunni-Hanafi Islam that pre-emptively delegitimizes Muslim communities outside of its orbit. On the other hand, we also attend to the contrasting national politics of Islam in each of our four contexts, ranging from Islamophobic anxiety and suspicion to multiculturalism, from a minority politics of differentiation to hegemonic images of ethno-national religiosity.

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Residential Segregation in Israel, 1961–2008

The Spatial Assimilation of Immigrants

Noga Keidar

While scholars study residential segregation dynamics in order to understand minorities’ assimilation into mainstream society, less is known about these mechanisms in ethno-national migration contexts. This article examines Israel’s demographic dynamics from 1961 to 2008 in order to evaluate and provide a framework for the process of spatial assimilation of Mizrahim and Ashkenazim in the context of segregation from the Palestinian citizens of Israel. By using the Theil index (H), I assess the level of segregation in different geographic layers and then explore how internal migration has reduced spatial distance within the Jewish society. The analysis demonstrates that despite the disadvantaged position of Mizrahim as of 1961, levels of residential segregation had decreased by 1983. Also, boundaries changed from a variance between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim into a variance among Mizrahim only, with those who relocated as the most spatially assimilated group and those who remained as the most segregated one.