The elephant is in the room: Diversity regimes, liminality and play in a dialog program for Palestinian-Arab and Jewish students in an Israeli university

Adi Sapir, Asaf Alimi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How do higher education institutions “do” diversity in the context of protracted national conflict? The present study examines a diversity and inclusion program in an Israeli university through a case study of one of the program’s initiatives in practice: a dialog workshop for Palestinian-Arab and Jewish students. Analyzing observational, interview and documentary data, and drawing on the theoretical constructs of liminality and play, we explore the workshop as a liminal space within a de-politicized diversity regime. We contribute to critical diversity literature by exploring the unfolding of inclusion work in the context of protracted national conflict, in which the university’s policy of imposing a strict apolitical agenda resulted in benign commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as silencing of staff and students who attempted to bring up “off-limits” topics. We also contribute to research on liminality and play in organizational contexts by examining the dialog workshop as a case of a structured and regulated liminal space. In particular, we reveal how leisure time and play, specifically role play and role reversal, serve as “small openings”: outlets for experimentation and reflection within the predetermined confines of the liminal space.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalOrganization
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Dialog encounters
  • diversity regimes
  • higher education
  • inclusion
  • liminality
  • play

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management

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