The floor falling away: Dislocated space and body in the humour of ethiopian immigrants in Israel

Hagar Salamon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The present paper analyses humorous stories circulating among Ethiopian immigrants now living in Israel. Typically told at community gatherings, these narratives articulate the drama of dislocation and the traumatic encounter with life in Israel, by focusing on the embarrassing clash of the quintessential traditional Ethiopian, with a new land-scape, time-scape, and body-scape. Characterised by an easy spirit, the revelation of innocence met with forgiving and accepting laughter, these stories enable internalisation and mediation of common ambivalences and vulnerabilities, converting them into elements of pleasure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-34
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author thanks Mulugete Mahari and Yael Aizic for assisting in the collection of the humorous stories and the transcription of the recorded materials, as well as The Folklore Research Center at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem for financial support. The author is grateful to Ilana Goldberg, Galit Hasan-Rokem, and Anbessa Tefera, as well as to the two anonymous reviewers, for their insightful reading of earlier versions of this paper. Some of the stories were presented at the International Society for Folk Narrative Research conference held in Athens in June 2009, and at the XVII International Conference of Ethiopian Studies and the Society for the Study of Ethiopian Jewry meeting held in Ethiopia in November 2009. The author extends thanks to the participants of the panels at these conferences for the stimulating discussion.

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Folklore -- Israel
  • Popular culture -- Israel
  • Jews, Ethiopian -- Israel
  • Immigrants -- Israel -- Social conditions
  • Immigrant absorption -- Israel


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