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Communal Webs

Communication and Culture in Contemporary Israel

Tamar Katriel

Publication Year: 1991

This book brings together insights derived from a detailed exploration of Israeli cultural patterns of communication, highlighting their role in the processes of culture formation, maintenance, and change. Katriel’s ethnographic examples provide a richly-textured account of Israeli cultural experience, illustrating the potential of a cultural analysis grounded in the study of ideologically-informed communicative practices.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Anthropology and Judaic Studies (discontinued)

Title Page and Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v

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pp. vi

I am grateful to many individuals, far too many to mention by name, for innumerable conversations that, in one way or another, have touched and animated the issues discussed in this book. I owe a special debt of gratitude to my colleagues and students at the University of Haifa for their continuing interest in and support of this work. I am particularly indebted to Pearla...

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1: Introduction

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pp. 1-10

For the past ten years I have been playing ethnographer in my own back yard, the everyday world of middle-class Israelis, mainly of European heritage, which we tend to think of as mainstream Israeli culture. Making ethnography my strategy for encompassing situations (Burke 1957[1941]), I have paused at various junctures to puzzle over what presented themselves as mundane, taken...

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2: Gibush: The Crystallization Metaphor in Israeli Cultural Semantics

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pp. 11-34

The distinctive tonalities attending the notion of gibush in Israeli discourse have initially come to my attention in listening to massive doses of talk about social problems in school classes in which I was making observations as part of an educational project. Very often, the problems teachers and children were having were described as difficulties...

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3: Kiturim: Griping as a Verbal Ritual In Israeli Discourse

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pp. 35-49

As many Israelis concede, and some lament, the speech mode known in colloquial Israeli Hebrew as kiturim or kuterai, whose closest English equivalent would be "griping," has become an ever-present speech activity in informal encounters among Israelis. So much so that Friday night gatherings in Israeli...

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4: Rhetoric in Flames: Fire Inscriptions in Israeli Youth Movement Ceremonials

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pp. 51-70

Fire has become a central element in the ceremonial idiom of contemporary Israel, and is found in a variety of "civic rituals" (Bocock 1974; Liebman and Don-Yehia 1983; Kertzer 1988). For example, fire symbolism is used on such calendrical occasions as the festive lighting of "commemoration candles" in front of the Western Wall on Memorial Day, or the lighting of twelve torches...

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5: Picnics in a Military Zone: Rituals of Parenting and the Politics of Consensus

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pp. 71-91

Every Saturday morning, hundreds of family cars make their way toward various remote spots around the country, both within and across the "green line" marking the pre-1967 borders of lsrael. Their separate destinations are conjoined in terms of one and the same familial mission - to visit a soldier...

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6: "For Our Young Listeners": Rhetorics of Participation on Israeli Radio

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pp. 93-122

Radio days are not all gone. Although, clearly, television holds prime of place among electronic media in most countries in the world today, one of the distinctive features of radio broadcasting is that it allows for a considerable degree of spontaneous, long-distance and anonymous audience participation. This feature of radio communication has been widely utilized in call-in (phone-in)...

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7: Brogez: Ritual and Strategy In Israeli Children's Conflicts

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pp. 123-149

This chapter is devoted to the analysis of conflict-related, ritualized brogez sequences as communicative forms in Israeli childhood culture. The study of brogez relates to two strands of research into children's communicative competence: the study of children's conflict behavior and the study of ritualized...

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8: ''Behibudim! '': Ritualized Sharing Among Israeli Children

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pp. 151-165

Having identified ritualized sharing of treats (hibudim) as a significant social institution in the lives of the children among whom I conducted my study of the communicative patterns of Israeli children, I proceeded to observe interactions involving the exchange of treats in a strategically selected location for over a month on a daily basis. The area surrounding a couple of popular candy...

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9: Hahlafot: Rules and Strategies in Israeli Children's Swapping Exchanges

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pp. 167-181

Like children's sharing of treats in hibudim, the trading of collectibles in swapping exchanges (hahlafot) 1 is an instance of a patterned cooperative social engagement. In both cases, the symbolic materials employed are not words but things. The objects children share or swap, like the words they exchange...

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10: Sodot: Secret -Sharing as a Social Form Among Israeli Children

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pp. 183-195

The last two chapters dealt with ritualized exchange patterns among Israeli children. Both dwelt on the social and symbolic meanings attending the exchange of objects-''consumables'' in hibudim and ''durables'' in hahlafot. Another salient form of exchange in children's peer-group culture involves the ritualized exchange of privileged information, which takes the form of...

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11: By Way of Conclusion

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pp. 197-199

One way to recapture the story-line of this book is to say that it starts out by exploring the meanings and uses of gibush as a "key symbol" in contemporary Israeli culture, and proceeds to trace a variety of ritualized communicative practices and contexts in which the cultural meanings associated with gibush play a role. It is in and through these largely...


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pp. 201-216


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pp. 217-226

E-ISBN-13: 9781438408477
E-ISBN-10: 1438408471
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791406441
Print-ISBN-10: 079140644X

Page Count: 226
Publication Year: 1991

Series Title: SUNY series in Anthropology and Judaic Studies (discontinued)