Articles

Articles

Israel and the EscaPoverty between Disciplines: The Contribution of Sociology to the Study of Poverty/ Haya Stierpe Victims of Military Repression in Argentina/ Luis Roniger and Mario Sznajder

In this article I review several approaches to the study of poverty, and emphasize the unique contribution of sociology to this area. Many studies of poverty, especially those conducted from an economic standpoint, focus on measuring poverty and identifying the poor. This is done in order to trace the determinants of economic disadvantages and to offer ways to improve the economic conditions of those living in poverty. I argue that the main contribution of sociology to the study of poverty is by situating the poor in social contexts focusing on the question of whether they are qualitatively different from the rest of society. Two major sociological approaches are mentioned: the “culture of poverty” and the emergence of the underclass. Both are related to the broader issue of the ecology of poverty. I also discuss the importance of the geographical concentration of the poor and their social isolation that often results in their exclusion from social and economic resources and middle-class networks. Social exclusion enhances the development of social problems, like crime, unemployment, and illness. In light of these sociological approaches, this paper discusses these issues in an Israeli context, and the relevance of proposed theoretical explanations for the emergence of concentrated poverty in Israel.

 

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Human Rights and Social Space: The Power of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel/ Neve Gordon

 Employing Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of “social space,” this paper examines how human rights organizations acquire power, arguing that the closer non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are located to sites of power (government, administrative and judicial institutions as well as corporations) the more influence they exert. This claim challenges the thesis that the types of strategies adopted by rights NGOs in order to advance their cause explain their social and political impact. The case study used is The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). I begin by showing that the strategies ACRI employs are similar to the strategies utilized by other rights organizations operating in Israel. Next, I demonstrate that the reason ACRI is the largest and most effective rights group in Israel is not due to the strategies it has adopted, but is rather an outcome of its location within Israeli social space as well as the economic, cultural, social and symbolic power it wields. By way of conclusion, I argue that spatial closeness to sites of power is a double edged sword: it inculcates the rights organization within the hegemonic worldview and in this way circumscribes and restricts the universalistic agenda which should inform the activities of all human rights organizations.

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Modification While Reproduction – The Struggle of Bereaved Parents over the Benefit System/ Michal Laron

The struggle over the benefit system in Israel is part of a broader social change in the "culture of bereavement". During the 1990s, the bereaved parent became a political agent in the public sphere. In this case study I will argue that the dichotomous ways in which the literature on bereaved parents describes this change does not consider the various strategic actions taken by the bereaved parents, nor does it consider the outcomes of these actions. I will suggest that bereaved parents not only challenged the state but also sanctified it; they claimed to change the status quo but also reproduced it. By focusing on "militaristic discourse" and the "needs discourse", I will argue that the very process of claim-making may have a dialectical influence on the relationship between the state and its citizens. While the bereaved parents’ struggle presents a challenge to the state’s autonomy, it also confirms, reproduces and strengthens the power of the state.,

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Social Group, Field of Study, and Work Values among First Degree Students in Israel/ Arza Avrahami

The  work values of first degree students in Israel were examined in light of the expansion,- multiplicity of course offerings , and social heterogeneity in higher education. Particular attention was given to the networking of work values, the similarities and differences in the consideration of these values in different social groups and the connection between work values and the subject matter studied. A similarity was found between the value structures structure and the value preferences from studies in Israel and elsewhere. The realization of ability and achievement-oriented values were emphasized, as was the free time needed to nurture one’s family. Women ranked the importance of most values higher than men, with an emphasis on free time for family nurturing and comfort. There was a marked similarity between the work values of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Israeli-born Jews, while new immigrants and Arabs demonstrated a different value pattern. This can be explained, particularly in the case of the Arabs, by the social standing of a minority group. An analysis of work values by subject matter showed that value patterns matched the accepted characteristics of professions related to the different subject matter areas. There was a particular difference between the value pattern of education majors (mostly women), which emphasized comfort and caring for others, and the value pattern of economics, management, communication and law majors, which emphasized achievement and the realization of personal abilities.

 

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Sociology in Jerusalem: The Shadow of its History/ Gad Yair and Noa Apeloig

This paper seeks to explain the gap between the theoretical image of the Department of Sociology in Jerusalem and it’s actual marginal position in global theoretical discussions. The gap is explained by focusing on the department’s constitution from the 1940s. We also analyze the intellectual traditions which oriented empirical research and the organizational and academic divisions of labor which reflected theoretical orientations. We claim that the contextual and comparative modes of thought which developed in Jerusalem were strengthened by the period of state building, and allowed the department to be regarded as "the place where comparative studies are at their best". But theorists and theoretical innovation were absent from Jerusalem.

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Nature in Culture, Culture in Nature: Bees and Beekeepers in Israel/ Mattat Adar-Bunis

By working and creating a narrative of his work, the Israeli professional beekeeper creates a world of opposites where an amazing altruistic bee society and immoral beekeepers face off. However, each individual beekeeper presents his/her interaction with the bees as altruistic. S/he accomplishes this by bringing the bees into culture and himself into nature, thus rescuing himself /herself from his immoral individuality. The beekeeper’s identity is a mosaic: s/he is at once competitive, independent and yet sociable--a Sabra. S/he is a capitalist who thrives on the bee’s food and a Gordonian new person returned to nature. Above all, s/he is a gifted world maker..

 

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Taken from: Al Ha'esh (On the Fire) / Nir Avieli, Vol. 14 No.1

Taken From: Dancers in Iron Age Israel ca. 1200-600 BCE / Batyah Schachter, Vol. 13 No. 2

Taken From: Dancers in Iron Age Israel ca. 1200-600 BCE / Batyah Schachter, Vol. 13 No. 2

Taken from: Display of Institutional Power between Race and Gender / Noa Hazan, Vol. 14 No. 2