Participatory destigmatization strategies among Palestinian citizens, Ethiopian Jews and Mizrahi Jews in Israel

Nissim Mizrachi, Hanna Herzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines how members of minority groups in Israel cope with stigmatization in everyday life. It focuses on working-class members of three minority groups: Palestinian Arabs or Palestinian citizens of Israel, Mizrahim (Jews of Middle Eastern and North African origin) and Ethiopian Jews. It reveals the use of racial, ethnic and national markers in daily processes of social inclusion and exclusion in one sociopolitical context. Palestinians, a group with a fixed external identity and a limited sphere of participation, were found to use the language of race and racism when describing stigmatizing encounters. Ethiopian Jews, the most phenotypically marked group, strictly avoided this language. For their part, Mizrahi Jews perceived the very discussion of stigmatization as stigmatizing, while often using 'contingent detachment' to distance themselves from negative group identities. Despite differences between the communities and the powerful role of the state in establishing symbolic and social boundaries, members of all three groups expressed their intention to achieve or retain avenues for participation in the larger society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-435
Number of pages18
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Ethiopians
  • Mizrahim
  • Palestinians
  • boundaries
  • contingent detachment
  • destigmatization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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