Reflections on strangeness in context: The case of Russian-Jewish immigrants in the kibbutz

Tamar Rapoport*, Edna Lomsky-Feder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article elucidates and elaborates upon the contextualized meaning of strangeness and the experience of being a stranger. Our empirical study of strangeness embarks simultaneously from the three leading theories of the stranger - as cultural reader (Schuetz 1944), as demarcalor of social boundaries (Simmel 1950), and as trespasser of social categories (Bauman 1990, 1991) - and at the same time criticizes these theories for artificially divesting strangeness of social context. Our thesis about strangeness-in-context is grounded in in-depth interviews we conducted with Jewish-Russian immigrants (twenty-one university students) who have lived in kibbutzim. Our assumption is that the kibbutz as a "communal home" is a suitable case study to illuminate the manyfold dimensions of strangeness, as it intensifies the tension between insiders and outsiders. In explicating the immigrant's sense of strangeness we claim the local context of the kibbutz interacts with the Israeli national definition of the immigrant as a homecomer.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)483-506
Number of pages24
JournalQualitative Sociology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Homecoming
  • Immigration
  • Kibbutz
  • Strangeness


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