Place melancholy as a lost sense of belonging during urban transformation among older women long-term residents of HaTikva neighborhood in Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Based on an anthropological analysis informed by emotional and social geography literature and by the theory of melancholia, this article proposes an original perspective on the question of long-term residents’ place attachment, tracing the effect of urban change on their emotional identification with their neighborhood. The concept of ‘place melancholy’ is suggested to describe the collective sense of sadness aroused when a place changes rapidly, leading long-term residents to lose their sense of belonging. It evokes melancholia by highlighting their marginalized social position as well as their personal family and health status. HaTikva neighborhood in south Tel Aviv-Jaffa provides the case study. Originally inhabited predominantly by lower-income Mizrahim, or Jews from Islamic countries, in recent years it has undergone a dramatic transformation with the influx of African asylum seekers and the veteran community’s contraction. Informed by ethnographic fieldwork, I argue that collective melancholia is felt among the HaTikva’s Mizrahi residents, related to their position at the margins of a global city and to their experience of place loss following the migration wave. Whereas the melancholia is shared by these residents across ethnoclass and gender lines, the older Mizrahi women whose narratives were developed in designated narrative focus group and are analyzed here experience an additional layer of melancholia associated with age; nevertheless, it may be alleviated by strong social ties and mutual community support. Such narratives indicate the theoretical importance and relevance of place melancholy when analyzing place belonging during urban change, particular among marginalized older long-term residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-131
Number of pages21
JournalGender, Place, and Culture
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Mizrahim
  • Place attachment
  • Tel Aviv
  • belonging
  • emotion and affect
  • global migration
  • old age
  • place melancholy
  • urban transformation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Gender Studies

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