Ethnic mobility: ethno-class identities and self-negation

Mirit Haybi-Barak, Avihu Shoshana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the relationship between ethnic and class identities among members of a stigmatic ethnic group (Mizrahim) who experience upward mobility in Israel. The findings show how mobile Mizrahim do not report a classic cleft habitus, but rather a amalgam between the types of habitus associated with mobility, strategic preference of class identities, and maintenance of distance from ethnic identity. At the same time, the findings also reveal the heavy use of Orientalist discourse, boundary-work within the ethnic (and familial) group, strong negative emotions (disgust, hate), and self-negation. We offer an interpretation of this self-negation as a unique expression of cleft habitus. We also discuss the discursive explanations for this unique relationship between ethnic and class identities and the prevalent cultural scenario in Israel regarding mobility, which, in turn, affects the phenomenology of mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-341
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number3
StatePublished - 4 May 2021


  • Mobility
  • class
  • cleft habitus
  • ethnicity
  • family capital
  • habitus

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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