Contesting the limits of political participation: Latinos and black African migrant workers in Israel

Adriana Kemp*, Rebeca Raijman, Julia Resnik, Silvina Schammah Gesser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The article addresses the significance of migrant associations and of their participatory practices as a vehicle by which migrant workers become political actors and negotiate membership in Israel. We offer a comparative analysis of black African and Latin American undocumented migrant communities to suggest the very fact that they manage to organize in autonomous associations in order to protect their interests, have the ability to mobilize support over issues of concern and raise claims before political authorities unwilling to accord them recognition, attest to the process whereby migrants become political actors and open new platforms of deliberation that enlarge de facto the limits of the Israeli public sphere. Moreover, by articulating their claims in terms of universalized themes such as 'human suffering' and 'human rights' migrants attempt at participating in the host society in the name of a generic category of 'personhood', one that transcends state-embedded conceptions of citizenship.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)94-119
Number of pages26
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation founded by The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and by the Golda Meyer Institute of Labor Studies, Tel-Aviv.T he athours wish tothank Uri Ben-Eliezer, Oren Yiftachel and ERS’ Reviewer A for their careful reading and useful comments, and Matabisi Lukumu for his diligent research assistance.


  • Citizenship
  • Claim-making populations
  • Ethnic associations
  • Israel
  • Labour migration
  • Political participation


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