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Paths to Middle-Class Mobility among Second-Generation Moroccan Immigrant Women in Israel

Beverly Mizrachi

Publication Year: 2013

While first-generation immigrant women often begin their lives at the bottom of their new societies, the fates of their adult daughters can be very different. Still, little research has been done to examine the opportunities or constraints that second-generation women face and the class achievements they make. In this volume, author Beverly Mizrachi presents an in-depth study of 40­-50-year-old Moroccan women whose parents made up part of the largest ethnic group to enter Israel after its establishment in 1948 and whose mothers began their new lives at the bottom of the economic and social ladder. Through her analysis of the life history narratives of these women, Mizrachi reveals that they used a range and number of sites to achieve an impressive mobility into the low, middle, and high segments of the middle class. Mizrachi's findings have implications for studying the middle-class mobility of second-generation immigrant women from subordinate groups in other Western societies. Paths to Middle-Class Mobility among Second-Generation Moroccan Immigrant Women in Israel begins by examining the historical background and culture of Jewish communities in Morocco that affected the mobility resources of the first, immigrant generation of Moroccan women in Israel and those accrued by the second generation. Mizrachi goes on to analyze the life history narratives of a group of six second-generation Moroccan women to show how they used their education, employment, gendered spousal relationships, motherhood, residential mobility, and the body to achieve their middle-class mobility. Ultimately, she finds that these women used their human agency and social structures over these multiple social sites to reach their class goals for themselves and their children while simultaneously constructing new classed and ethnicized feminine identities. Mizrachi's findings integrate issues of gender, ethnicity, immigration, and class mobility in a single intriguing study. Her volume will appeal to students and teachers of sociology, anthropology, ethnography, and Middle East studies as well as readers interested in immigration and women's studies.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

Cover

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pp. 1-2

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 3-8

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-12

These words, written by the anthropologist Clifford Geertz, expressed exactly what I felt while I was collecting data on the mobility into and within the middle class of a group of second-generation Jewish Moroccan immigrant women in Israel. Although these women belong to a large ethnic group, albeit a subordinate one, in Israeli society little information about them exists...

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2. Moroccan Women in Morocco and in Israel

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pp. 13-34

The mobility of second-generation Moroccan immigrant women as a group into and within the middle class is best understood within the context of the mass immigration of Jews to Israel between 1948 and 1956 that followed the establishment of the State in 1948;1 by examining their historical background and the “cultural roots”2 they brought with them from their country of origin; the mobility resources of the first, immigrant generation...

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3. Becoming a Semiprofessional

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pp. 35-50

Miriam, forty-three years old, is a kindergarten teacher’s assistant. She represents the approximately 11 percent of second-generation Moroccan immigrant women who are in the low segment of the middle class because they are semiprofessionals. She invited me to her apartment to conduct her interviews. For privacy, we sat in her son’s bedroom, which exhibited the...

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4. Transforming One’s Self and One’s Body

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pp. 51-66

Like Miriam, forty-two-year-old Ruth represents women in the low segment of the middle class. She, too, is a semiprofessional, a kindergarten teacher’s assistant. However, in the construction of her narrative in which she told of her path into the low middle class she stressed her transformation of herself and her body in order to enter this class...

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5. Acquiring Educational Credentials

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pp. 67-80

Sara, who is forty-seven years old, belongs to the largest group (20 percent) of second-generation Moroccan women in the middle class: those who are clerical workers. She represents high-ranking secretaries in the middle segment of the middle class. She works in the Municipal civil service in Jerusalem and invited me to her office at the Municipality for our meetings...

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6. A Divorcée Does It on Her Own

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pp. 81-94

Sharon is forty-seven years old. She also represents women who belong to the middle segment of the middle class through their position as high-ranking clerical workers. However, in contrast to Sara, she works in the National civil service as a high-ranking secretary in the Israeli government’s Ministry of Social Welfare. She is a divorced mother and typifies women who have entered...

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7. Comfortable in Her Own Skin

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pp. 95-106

Naomi, who is forty-five years old, represents the small percentage (3 percent) of second-generation Moroccan immigrant women in the high segment of the middle class. She was born into the middle class and for her upward mobility meant becoming an academic professional. She earned BA and MA degrees as well as a teaching certificate, which enabled her to be a...

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8. Privilege and Its Discontent

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pp. 107-120

Colette, a forty-six-year-old woman, also represents women in the high segment of the middle class. She, like Naomi, was born into the middle class and through her own efforts became an academic professional. She has a BA and an MA degree as well as a teaching certificate. She is a high school teacher. However, she is discontent because her additional mobility is blocked. As...

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9. Discussion: Paths to Middle-Class Mobility

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pp. 121-150

The narratives show that these women used their human agency over multiple social sites and social structures simultaneously to acquire the individual mobility resources that brought them to their class goals while at the same time constructing new classed and ethnicized feminine identities. These sites were areas, arenas, or social spaces in their lives—education, employment, gendered spousal relationships, motherhood, residential mobility, the...

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Methodology Appendix: Classifying the Women

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pp. 151-154

I used Robert Erikson and John Goldthorpe’s full-version class schema1 to define class categories rather than the collapsed seven-class schema, because the collapsed version compressed the class categories in such a way that I “lost” some class distinctions that were important to this study. This is also the reason I did not use John Goldthorpe, Meir Yaish, and Vered Kraus’s collapsed...

Notes

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pp. 155-178

Bibliography

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pp. 179-194

Index

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pp. 195-203

Back Cover

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p. 218-218


E-ISBN-13: 9780814338582
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814338810

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology

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Subject Headings

  • Women immigrants -- Israel -- Social conditions.
  • Moroccans -- Israel -- History.
  • Immigrants -- Israel -- History.
  • Social mobility -- Israel.
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