The aim of this study is to draw out the structural logic of high school graduation ceremonies in general-and in Israel in particular-in order to understand their cultural meaning. The article analyzes 55 accounts of ceremonies held at Israeli-Jewish secondary schools just before the students' conscription into the army. Analysis shows that these events are organized around competing intergenerational models of the social order. Each generational unit locates itself differently vis-à-vis the state order, suspending familial loyalties in the face of loyalty to generational interests. The adults position themselves as representatives of the hegemonic order, while the students demonstrate its arbitrariness and the possibility of resisting it. Thus, the graduation ceremony structurally regulates the intergenerational encounter and the basic conflict between the family and the state on the eve of the students' enlistment.
Intergenerational Relations and Models of Social Order
I first met Martin Gilbert in May 2000, when he was given an honorary degree at the graduation ceremonies of The George Washington University, where I was Professor of History and chairman of the Program in Judaic Studies. But I felt that I had known him long before that, through his books.
Katherine Nielsen and Eli Thorkelson
Ethnographers have constructed contradicting assertions, and indeed assumptions,
about the nature of learning, how it is best accomplished, and
how students internalise this learning in order to form both individualised
and collective identities. Are the rites of passage, so often described in analyses
of postgraduate socialisation – the oral examinations, the viva voce, the
departmental seminar, or graduation ceremony – the only routes available
for understanding how anthropological culture is inculcated into students?
Is the role of the supervisor as mentor pivotal in the successful completion
of a Ph.D? Or is this more of a master/apprentice relationship? Does this
proc ess maintain its relevance in a globalised field and with instant virtual
access to experts from other institutions anywhere in the world? Such issues
have been of interest to both students and faculty within the anthropology
discipline, in particular, and the social sciences more generally.