Cultural citizenship and performing homecoming: Russian Jewish immigrants decipher the Zionist national ethos

Edna Lomsky-Feder*, Tamar Rapoport

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

The paper explores the mutual relation between cultural citizenship and national homecoming. Using the case study of Russian-Jewish immigrants in Israel, it refines the theoretical debate over cultural citizenship by showing how homecoming migration shapes the homecomers' bargaining power over the local cultural tenets. In particular, the research examines the ways in which the 'Russian' immigrants negotiate the national ethos of homecoming that constitutes the Israeli civic, discursive field, while dismantling it into its root components: Affinity to the place, collective memory, and the warrior ethos. Each of these components constitutes a sphere of action that embodies the tension between Israeliness and Jewishness, nationalism and citizenship, and the personal and the collective. Our main contention is that in the case of homecoming migration, the inextricable affinity between citizenship and nationalism shapes the homecomers' cultural citizenship: On the one hand, it secures their right to participate in the local cultural discourse and avails bargaining power, while on the other hand, it neutralizes the homecomers' subversive voice, and reduces their capacity to undermine the constitutive, national tenets. The analysis is based on immigration stories gathered via in-depth interviews that were conducted with 43 Jewish university students who immigrated to Israel from the former USSR in the beginning of the 1990s.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)321-334
Number of pages14
JournalCitizenship Studies
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Keywords

  • Cultural citizenship
  • Homecoming
  • Immigration

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