Accepted Paper:

Life courses of Israeli anthropologies: motives, anthropological knowledge and nation building  
Orit Abuhav (Beit berl College)

Paper short abstract:

Life courses of contemporary Israeli anthropologists yield a dynamic portrait of production of anthropological knowledge and its involvement in nation building. Of their voices we learn of diverse metaphors to present their professional careers: "Nomads", "curious" and "Committed".

Paper long abstract:

This presentation is about life courses of the careers of Israeli anthropologists: Their identities, motives, drives, choices, values and their perceptions of the disciplinary identity. The interviews yield a dynamic portrait of the acquisition, production, and ongoing modification of anthropological knowledge. Through them, we learn of diverse understandings among Israeli anthropologists at the individual and institutional levels, and of continuous evolution in response to changes in the discipline and within Israeli society.

Analyzing the anthropologists' voices, those are the metaphors and images that emerged from the life courses of the anthropologists: The anthropologist as "immigrant", in the sense of a nomadic, marginal sojourning in a multicultural society; the anthropologist as "committed", in the sense of engagement, identification with the other people, and social reform; the anthropologist as one who is "curious" about the other cultures.

Thus emerged a generally argument that ties together the personal stories of anthropologist, with a macroscopic view that looks at the place of anthropologist in the processes of nation building in Israeli society, and later at the development and shaping of Israeli society after the establishment of the state.

Panel P059
Topics in the social history of anthropology, in Europe and elsewhere (Europeanist Network)