Get access

Does Education Necessarily Mean Enlightenment? The Case of Higher Education among Palestinians—Bedouin Women in Israel


Sarab Abu-Rabia-Queder is a lecturer at Blustein Institute for Desert Studies, Ben Gurion University. Her studies focus on issues of sociology of education, cultural transitions, identity, and gender among the Palestinian community in Israel. During fall 2007–2008, she did her postdoctoral studies at International Center for Development Studies, Oxford University, United Kingdom (


This study challenges and evaluates modern-liberal-humanistic discourse on education as enlightenment through analysis of the life stories of the first Bedouin women to acquire higher education (hereafter: First Women). The liberal discourse is examined in terms of its ethnic and genderial contexts and the special status these women gained as trailblazers. I explore the meaning of enlightenment among Bedouin women and the question of when and whether (higher) education facilitates or impedes their progress. [education, enlightenment, postmodernism, modernism, Bedouin women]