Israeli existential anxiety: cultural trauma and the constitution of national character

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Abstract

The present paper extends recent studies of national character – suggesting that the Israeli case revolves around a set of deep cultural codes which constitute various empirical manifestations. Broadening on this re-emerging paradigm, the study provides a specific case study of a major trait of Israeli national character, namely existential anxiety and fear of annihilation. It does so while advancing the idea that cultural trauma sets a context for Israeli national character. The analysis shows that Israelis constantly reference persistent and endemic existential fears of annihilation. They do so while tying together four levels: the mythological predicament, historical evidence, contemporary threats and future risks.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)346-362
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Identities
Volume20
Issue number4-5
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Israel
  • cultural trauma
  • memory
  • national habitus
  • national identity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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