Voices from the Kibbutz : Four Mothers, New Profile, and Women in Black

The European Legacy 15 (1):55-69 (2010)
Abstract
If there is any social organization that has provided a powerful illustration of the permeable boundaries between social politics—defined by Stephen M. Buechler as “forms of collective action that challenge power relations without an explicit focus on the state”—and social movements , and the role of collective identity in transforming either, as defined for women by Betty Friedan—it would be the Israeli kibbutz movement. The research presented here on grassroots Israeli women activists, a significant proportion of whom had grown up or had lived in a kibbutz, suggests that the social politics of everyday life on a kibbutz facilitated women's participation in larger social movements for peace, but also placed constraints on their activism. Many of these women had left or were in the process of leaving the kibbutz between 1989 and 1999, when this research was conducted. Those who had already left, and anchor women who organized urban demonstrations, saw the kibbutz as a conservative anti-woman force. Nonetheless, evidence gathered from qualitative interviewing with them suggests that the kibbutzim supported women who were politically active on national issues. Several women-led social protest movements illustrate how the kibbutz geared its members to think about the interplay of the moral and social orders in the small spaces of everyday life
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