Document Type

Honors Paper

Publication Date

5-2009

Abstract

Contemporary concerns of anthropology stress the role of power relations in framing the study of a marginalized people within society. In this study, the present predicament of the Ethiopian community in Israel is examined through the highly political processes of nationalism, ethnic conflict, and identity construction. Each of these factors hold implications for the ways by which a dominant European nationalist ideology in Israel has come to impose forces of authority upon subjugated, non-European ethnic groups. The Ethiopians are one such group. The point of divergence between the community of Ethiopian Jews and Israel’s national identity has caused the Ethiopian youth to rebel, resist, and construct their identity both globally and spatially. This phenomenon creates a significant dependence on the behavior of prominent communities in the African diaspora. The structure of this paper aims to illustrate the transnational identity of these youths as a response to Israel’s decision to ideologically orient itself toward Western, capitalist values. Zionism’s original foundation took root in precepts prevalent in the European Enlightenment, such as socialism and Marxism. My work, however, reveals a distinct Ethiopian perspective that today views the nation-state as a source of much conflict. This paper emphasizes conceptions of the field in anthropology, as well as the practices of fieldwork. It also, however, engages fieldwork itself to explore the specific role of space in the lives and imaginings of Ethiopian youth.

 

The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.