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Det föreställda ghettot. Ultraortodox gränsdragning och identitetskonstruktion i The Jewish Observer 1983-2002

Åberg, Johan LU (2003)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Hur lever man ett avskilt liv i dagens moderna värld? Kan man bevara en distinkt religiös och kulturell identitet i en omgivning som propagerar för pluralism och öppenhet?



Integritet och avskildhet från det omgivande samhället är viktiga inslag i charedims (ultraortodoxa judars) kulturella identitet. Att argumentera för dessa värden är lätt, att praktiskt konkretisera dem i dagens moderna samhälle är svårare. Där vårt moderna samhälle propagerar för otvungna möten mellan könen, betonar charedim separation mellan man och kvinna. Där det moderna västerländska samhällets klädsyn styrs av modebranschens senaste impulser, styrs det charediska samhället av traditionens syn på... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Hur lever man ett avskilt liv i dagens moderna värld? Kan man bevara en distinkt religiös och kulturell identitet i en omgivning som propagerar för pluralism och öppenhet?



Integritet och avskildhet från det omgivande samhället är viktiga inslag i charedims (ultraortodoxa judars) kulturella identitet. Att argumentera för dessa värden är lätt, att praktiskt konkretisera dem i dagens moderna samhälle är svårare. Där vårt moderna samhälle propagerar för otvungna möten mellan könen, betonar charedim separation mellan man och kvinna. Där det moderna västerländska samhällets klädsyn styrs av modebranschens senaste impulser, styrs det charediska samhället av traditionens syn på anständighet och ärbarhet. Den charediska gemenskapens svar på det omgivande samhället blir hela tiden att försöka erbjuda och argumentera för judiska värden som är av rakt motsatt karaktär.



»Det föreställda ghettot» presenterar en tankemodell för att förstå den charediska gemenskapen och dess strävan att stå utanför majoritetssamhället och leva ett avskilt liv samtidigt som de lever, verkar och bor mitt i detta samhälles storstäder. Vad har detta för inverkan på deras kulturella identitet? Kommer den charediska gemenskapen att kunna behålla sin självbild av att vara en avskild gemenskap? (Less)
Abstract
The dissertation focuses on the Haredi (ultra-orthodox Jewish) journal The Jewish Observer, published since 1963 by Agudath Israel of America, suggesting that the publisher uses the journal as an instrument to help the readers to maintain a distinct Haredi identity in urban, non-Haredi environments and not only in their own, isolated milieu. The articles of the journal are understood as resources, aiming to help the readers to consider themselves to be members of an »imagined ghetto».



The first main part of the thesis presents the historical and religious context of the movement behind The Jewish Observer, the second part consists of an analysis of a selection of its articles sorted into three categories.

... (More)
The dissertation focuses on the Haredi (ultra-orthodox Jewish) journal The Jewish Observer, published since 1963 by Agudath Israel of America, suggesting that the publisher uses the journal as an instrument to help the readers to maintain a distinct Haredi identity in urban, non-Haredi environments and not only in their own, isolated milieu. The articles of the journal are understood as resources, aiming to help the readers to consider themselves to be members of an »imagined ghetto».



The first main part of the thesis presents the historical and religious context of the movement behind The Jewish Observer, the second part consists of an analysis of a selection of its articles sorted into three categories.



The first group of articles paints a picture of »Europe in its glory», and are part of the community’s fabricated heritage. The articles tell the life stories of the leaders of the movement, recreate a lost world of flourishing yeshivas and pious Jews, and present the »true» version of contested memories and persona-lities. This fabricated heritage, it is argued, is an integral part of the community’s cultural identity, giving their members a sense of a unique past and of »being one of us» in contrast to an Other.



The second group consists of articles about the Holocaust. These articles focus on »true heroism» under difficult circumstances, depicting the Nazi war against the Jews as a war against Judaism as a religion. The »true heroes» are the people who continued to act and live as religious Jews, and – in this sense – can function as role models for today’s Haredi Jews, who live under »difficult» circumstances as well.



The third – and largest – group of articles are related to America. This »America» is the place where the encounter is staged between the »old» and the »new» world, and it provides »the imagined ghetto» with several resources to help it maintain its boundaries vis-à-vis the Other. These boundaries, it is argued, are con-struc-ted in order to help the readers to feel that »we» are not »them» and that have more in common than »we» differ – and in that sense create a symbolic ghetto which is no longer restricted to any geographic boundaries. »The imagined ghetto» is a mental feeling of otherness, created and maintained by resources from the surrounding society – which means that the existence of »the imagined ghetto» is dependent on its real and imaginary enemies. The purpose of the majority of the articles in The Jewish Observer are therefore to construct and maintain these symbolic enemies. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Lektor Steensgaard Paludan, Peter, Aarhus university
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Non-Christian religions, resource mobilization, boundary maintenance, cultural identity, Jewish traditionalism, haredim, ultra-Orthodox Jewry, Jews in USA, Agudath Israel of America, Världsreligioner (ej kristendom)
pages
280 pages
publisher
Arcus
defense location
Samarkand, Akademiska Föreningen, Sandgatan 2
defense date
2003-11-07 10:15
ISBN
91-88552-46-2
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
5e383ece-a1dc-4a7f-ab31-2c6de11d3257 (old id 21378)
date added to LUP
2007-05-25 14:47:58
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:07
@misc{5e383ece-a1dc-4a7f-ab31-2c6de11d3257,
  abstract     = {The dissertation focuses on the Haredi (ultra-orthodox Jewish) journal The Jewish Observer, published since 1963 by Agudath Israel of America, suggesting that the publisher uses the journal as an instrument to help the readers to maintain a distinct Haredi identity in urban, non-Haredi environments and not only in their own, isolated milieu. The articles of the journal are understood as resources, aiming to help the readers to consider themselves to be members of an »imagined ghetto».<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The first main part of the thesis presents the historical and religious context of the movement behind The Jewish Observer, the second part consists of an analysis of a selection of its articles sorted into three categories.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The first group of articles paints a picture of »Europe in its glory», and are part of the community’s fabricated heritage. The articles tell the life stories of the leaders of the movement, recreate a lost world of flourishing yeshivas and pious Jews, and present the »true» version of contested memories and persona-lities. This fabricated heritage, it is argued, is an integral part of the community’s cultural identity, giving their members a sense of a unique past and of »being one of us» in contrast to an Other.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The second group consists of articles about the Holocaust. These articles focus on »true heroism» under difficult circumstances, depicting the Nazi war against the Jews as a war against Judaism as a religion. The »true heroes» are the people who continued to act and live as religious Jews, and – in this sense – can function as role models for today’s Haredi Jews, who live under »difficult» circumstances as well.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The third – and largest – group of articles are related to America. This »America» is the place where the encounter is staged between the »old» and the »new» world, and it provides »the imagined ghetto» with several resources to help it maintain its boundaries vis-à-vis the Other. These boundaries, it is argued, are con-struc-ted in order to help the readers to feel that »we» are not »them» and that have more in common than »we» differ – and in that sense create a symbolic ghetto which is no longer restricted to any geographic boundaries. »The imagined ghetto» is a mental feeling of otherness, created and maintained by resources from the surrounding society – which means that the existence of »the imagined ghetto» is dependent on its real and imaginary enemies. The purpose of the majority of the articles in The Jewish Observer are therefore to construct and maintain these symbolic enemies.},
  author       = {Åberg, Johan},
  isbn         = {91-88552-46-2},
  keyword      = {Non-Christian religions,resource mobilization,boundary maintenance,cultural identity,Jewish traditionalism,haredim,ultra-Orthodox Jewry,Jews in USA,Agudath Israel of America,Världsreligioner (ej kristendom)},
  language     = {swe},
  pages        = {280},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xa257f00)},
  title        = {Det föreställda ghettot. Ultraortodox gränsdragning och identitetskonstruktion i The Jewish Observer 1983-2002},
  year         = {2003},
}