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Forced Multiculturalism in the Neighbourhood: Ethnic Privilege and Boundary-making in South Tel Aviv


  • Daiva Repeckaite

    1. VU University Amsterdam
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    • Daiva Repeckaite is a Ph.D. candidate at VU University Amsterdam. Her research looks into solidarity and political mobilization of Russian-speaking Israelis. She received the Israeli Government scholarship to carry out her fieldwork in Tel Aviv in 2009–2010.


Ethnic migration from the former Soviet Union to Israel is widely considered to be a ‘laboratory of ethnicity’. Most of the research into this subject focuses on the cultural and linguistic factors of identity restructuring, whereas critical engagement with social status, class, and urban environment is a much newer development. Social, economic, and urban explanations of the remaining relevance of ‘old’ (ex-USSR) identifications are particularly needed in the face of increasing alienation among various disadvantaged groups in Israel and the mobilization of large numbers of Russian-speakers around nationalist political parties. On the basis of interviews, participant observations, and media analysis, this article argues that simultaneously deterritorialized and reterritorialized ideas of home and belonging shape this group's social and political mobilization patterns in contested city spaces. Further, I suggest that nationalist mobilization is a strategy to reach beyond ethno-politics and make majority rather than minority claims.