Accepted Paper:

Ethnographic itinerary: the migration journey of the ZBI  


Ravit Talmi Cohn (Institute for Immigration and Social Integration, Ruppin Academic Center)

Paper short abstract:

The immigration of Zera Beita Israel from Ethiopia to Israel is viewed as a placemaking and timemaking journey through four stations. ZBI mobility was examined in a seven-year, multi-sited ethnographic study by the anthropologist in each journey station.

Paper long abstract:

"I've been on the go most of my life. I lived in the village, then we moved to Gondar, eight years later we moved to Addis Ababa. Three years later we moved to an absorption center Soon we'll move into our own home. I'm like a bird, moving from place to place" (Derese, 2008).

The immigration experience must be examined as part of a journey and movement, as I will demonstrate in this presentation. I base this claim on an ethnographic study designed to show how the internal and external immigration of Zera Beita Israel (Feres Mura) from Ethiopia to Israel is an ongoing journey and dialogue among the various stations within Ethiopia and Israel and en route, between the two countries. The journey's two main aspects - placemaking and timemaking, were used to construct a picture of the complexity of movement and immigration. Placemaking is the construction of a place in the unique context of immigration, and timemaking - creating being time and meta-time, both unique to immigration. Each of the places affects the dynamic, nonlinear immigration process and is affected by it.

This lecture is a product of a multi-sited ethnographic study conducted in 2005-2012. Based on long-term participant observations, questionnaires and interviews conducted in each of the journey's stations - villages of origin in northern Ethiopia, transit camps in Ethiopia, absorption centers in Israel, and permanent dwellings in Israel. The double lenses of placemaking and timemaking served to gain a perspective of mobility throughout this journey.

Panel P030
Mobilities, ethnographically connected: beyond the 'gap' between internal and transnational migration [ANTHROMOB]