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Estranged Natives and Indigenized Immigrants: A Relational Anthropology of Ethnically Mixed Towns in Israel


  • Monterescu, Daniel


Summary Ethnic relations between the Palestinian and Jewish communities in ethnically mixed towns in Israel are marked by class divides, political fragmentation, and perception of alienation vis-à-vis place and other. Analyzing patterns of communal identity politics, this article revisits the spatial history of Jaffa since 1948. Against theories of urban ethnocracy predicated on the convergence of state policies and capitalist accumulation, which in turn engender longstanding spatial segregation between Jews and Arabs and between new and old residents, I argue that it is precisely the indeterminate "contact zones" between communities and spaces that constitute the political and cultural realities in these cities. Proposing a relational reading of these spatial dynamics, this article shows that in contradistinction to the basic premise of the nation-state, in Jaffa as well as other mixed towns, the coupling between space and identity collapses. The concepts of "spatial heteronomy" and "stranger relations" are proposed to characterize the challenge raised by ethnically mixed towns to the Jewish state and to the ethnonational logic that guides it.

Suggested Citation

  • Monterescu, Daniel, 2011. "Estranged Natives and Indigenized Immigrants: A Relational Anthropology of Ethnically Mixed Towns in Israel," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 270-281, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:270-281

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. J. E. Stiglitz, 1999. "Introduction," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 28(3), pages 249-254, November.
    2. Ruggie, John Gerard, 1993. "Territoriality and beyond: problematizing modernity in international relations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 139-174, December.
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