Between the physical and the symbolic: on shifting of boundaries within the Israeli culture

Research output: Types of ThesisMaster's Thesis


The concept of borders and boundaries receives growing attention in recent years from diverse ranges of academic disciplines (Lamont, 2002). According to the sociologist Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Symbolic Boundaries are “the lines that include and define some people, groups, and things while excluding others” (1992: 232). The aim of the research is to examine shifting of the symbolic boundary between genders as a political act intended toward challenging the social order. The Israeli cultural sphere serves as the most suitable field for the study of boundaries, thanks to the “Israeli border paradox”: on one hand, due to the conflicts with its neighboring countries, the borders of Israel are yet to be completed. On the other hand, the Israeli society is characterized by multiple inner- boundaries which split it into different sub-groups that hold much tension between them (Zubeidah and Lipshitz, 2017). Drawing on culture studies, border studies and performative studies, this research wishes to create a meeting point where different forms of knowledge production come into dialogue. By doing so, the research observes the function of the most central division within all human societies - the one between the sexes (Epstein, 2007). According to Elizabeth Cherry (2010) shifting of symbolic boundaries is both a strategy and main goal for social movements. The research examines three examples from Israeli cultural field, which points to the symbolic boundary between genders, and challenge its existence at the same time; by doing so, they open new subversive and creative possibilities to imagine and do gender identities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2019


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