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Accepted Paper:

Almost-Peace, Almost-War, and COVID-19: The Vertiginous State in and of Israel   
Dafna Shir-Vertesh (Achva Academic College) Fran Markowitz (Ben Gurion University)

Paper short abstract:

This ethnographic analysis of almost-peace, almost-war, and the social effects of COVID-19 in Israel, aims to spur discussion of almostness as a lived part of the vertiginous state that includes anxiety, adaptability, inertia, acceptance, and hope.

Paper long abstract:

Although Israel has not been engaged in a full-fledged war since 1982, the country has never settled into the domestic complacency of peace. The long-term ethnography that we've conducted as 21st century citizen-researchers leads us to view life in Israel as an unending yet fluctuating condition of almostness. Focusing on everyday practices of affect, time and space, as well as the ways in which Israelis describe their ways of doing and being in the world, we suggest that they perceive their lives as being lived along a fitful, often dizzying, continuum of almost-peace and almost-war.

We now ask, how do the restrictions, fears and threats of the current pandemic fit into, or challenge this almostness scheme? How do Israelis experience these pressures in everyday practices and through their perceptions of physical and social realities? In what ways does their previous experience of almostness in almost-war flareups influence their navigation of this extraordinary reality? And how are contemporary conceptualizations of issues such as danger, privacy, patriotism, and responsibility tested, played with, and communicated?

Our goal in presenting this ethnographic analysis is to spur discussion of almostness as a lived part of the vertiginous state that may include overlapping discourses, behaviors and affects of anxiety, adaptability, inertia, acceptance, denial and even hope. Whereas the elusiveness of almostness can promise no resolution or endpoint, it does conjure social imaginaries of much worse and far better scenarios, and can thereby inspire cultural creativity, social action and assurances that everything will eventually work out.

Panel Exti07a
The vertiginous: discuss I
  Session 1 Tuesday 30 March, 2021, -