Ethnographic Encounters in Israel
Poetics and Ethics of Fieldwork
Publication Year: 2013
Israel is a place of paradoxes, a small country with a diverse population and complicated social terrain. Studying its culture and social life means confronting a multitude of ethical dilemmas and methodological challenges. The first-person accounts by anthropologists engage contradictions of religion, politics, identity, kinship, racialization, and globalization to reveal fascinating and often vexing dimensions of the Israeli experience. Caught up in pressing existential questions of war and peace, social justice, and national boundaries, the contributors explore the contours of Israeli society as insiders and outsiders, natives and strangers, as well as critics and friends.
Published by: Indiana University Press
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ETHNOGRAPHIC ENCOUNTERS IN ISRAEL
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Ethnographic Encounters in Israel emerged from a series of conversations that i had with tamir Erez and Dafna shir-Vertesh about the paucity of written texts deal-ing with fieldwork in israel, and how we might remedy that lack. at first my aim was to compile a hebrew language collection for use in israeli universities. But tamir and Dafna had a better idea. They insisted on an English language volume that would ...
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Introduction: Edgy Ethnography in a Little Big Place
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...the essays in this volume offer an experiential perspective on the variety and vital-ity of life in israel by focusing on the always challenging, frequently confusing, and sometimes heart-rending dynamics of carrying out anthropological fieldwork there. Fieldwork demands that anthropologists go where they might not ordinarily tread, or that they approach anew familiar surroundings and examine them with a critical eye. ...
Part I. Confrontations and Conversions
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1 How Christian Pilgrims Made Me Israeli
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...it’s al.scm.scost 6 o’clock and still over 90 degrees outside. i’m guiding a British char-ismatic ministry through the sites of Jesus’s ministry around the sea of galilee. The packed tour bus jiggles and bounces over the patched road on its way back to the hotel. i take the microphone and turn to the group: “ladies and gentlemen, if you have any questions, about anything whatsoever that i might have explained today, please feel ...
2 Mission Not Accomplished: Negotiating Power Relations and Vulnerability among Messianic Jews in Israel
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...the su.scm.scm.scer of 2002 began early; it was only May but the humid hot air intertwined with the smoke of the cars left me breathless and sweaty. i was on my way to interview ruthie, the secretary of a Messianic Jewish congregation i had been studying. From a distance i saw ruthie, a woman in her forties, dressed in fashionable stonewashed jeans and a tight white t-shirt, and wearing flashing red lipstick that contrasted with ...
3 Doing Dimona: An Americanist Anthropologist in an Africanized Israel
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...i nev.scer ex.scp.scec.scted to conduct any research in israel. Even though i first heard about the discipline of anthropology’s ostensible biases against studying “at home” while i was still just an undergraduate (matter-of-fact pronouncements about the ways in which some of the differences between anthropology and sociology pivoted on this very issue of geographic specialization), i have always been committed to the idea of ...
Part II. State Categories and Global Flows
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4 Seeking Truth in Hip-Hop Music and Hip-Hop Ethnography
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...it w.scas b.scac.sck.sc in 1997 when a friend, a music promoter and arranger from tel aviv, called to tell me about a new cD he described as a pioneering project by a group of local rappers. “We must support them, rasta,” he said with his typical enthusiasm, probably thinking about the radio program i was hosting at that time, where i was playing mostly roots and dancehall reggae. The fact that it was no more than a mar-...
5 The State of the Jewish Family: Eldercare as a Practice of Corporeal Symbiosis by Filipina Migrant Workers
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...on a satu.scrday in mid-February 2001, i went to visit my parents in ofaqim, a small town in the southern periphery of israel. The entrance to the town is via a main road that crosses the town vertically, engaging with the plain landscape of the surrounding desert. it was nearly three o’clock in the afternoon and i drove on the main road that passes the commercial center. The road and the center were empty, as is usual for a ...
6 Diasporas Collide: Competing Holocausts, Imposed Whiteness, and the Seemingly Jewish Non-Jew Researcher in Israel
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...anthropologists do not go to the field with empty heads and without prejudice. They take with them what has been implanted in them; they go because of what has been implanted in them. if in some small measure an anthropologist may become a member of another culture and perceive the world anew, he can only do so through the lens of his native heritage, trying to answer questions posed in the home environ-...
Part III. Fieldwork to the Point of Worry
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7 Traveling between Reluctant Neighbors: Researching with Jews and Bedouin Arabs in the Northern Negev
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...the su.scn has been up for about an hour as i leave the house, bundled in long pants and thick socks, a warm fleece, and a few layers of long-sleeve shirts and a sweater. a headscarf is tucked into my backpack for later. it is February, and the negev/naqab desert morning is cold and dry.1 a breeze blows through, but this is gentler than the whipping gustiness that comes most afternoons. i have been living in Moshav Dganim ...
8 On the Matter of Return to Israel/Palestine: Autoethnographic Reflections
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What the map cuts up, the story cuts across. in greek, narration is called “diegesis”; it establishes an itinerary (it “guides”) and it passes through it (it “transgresses”). The space of operations in which it travels is made of movements: it is topological, concerning the deformations of figures, rather than topical, defining places. it is only ambivalently that the story circumscribes in this space. it plays a double game. it ...
9 Some Kind of Masochist? Fieldwork in Unsettling Territory
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...here we are, standing on the corner of “Walk, Don’t Walk.” You look away from me, tryin’ not to catch my eye, but you didn’t turn fast enough, did you? You don’t like my raspy voice, do you? i got this raspy voice ’cause i have to yell all the time ’cause no-hannah’s v.scoic.sce is not yet raspy like trudy’s, the bag lady in Jane Wagner’s 1985 play, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. standing at her own intersection ...
10 The Impurities of Experience: Researching Prostitution in Israel
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...“Do you.sc rem.scem.scb.scer what the shower in my house looks like? The walls are peeling a bit.” “Yes.” “so listen to this. i took a shower one day, and on the wall in the shower, right in front of me, i saw a tiny ant. There are ceramic tiles, and then a very high wall. so the ant is walking on the wall, and she is still far away from me, not bothering me. i’m usually really afraid of insects, the diseases they bring . . . but that ant seemed so ...
11 Falling in Love with a Criminal? On Immersion and Self-Restraint
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Ju.scne 1982: i was in Jerusalem in the middle of fifteen months of fieldwork trying to figure out “israeli Jewish society” when israel invaded lebanon. any researcher with experience in israel or palestine knows that it is highly likely israel will be in some kind of war (or occupation or prolonged hostilities) during one’s fieldwork in the region, but some hostilities take the form of all-out war more than others, even in the eyes of vet-...
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Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 5 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013