The Changing Agenda of Israeli Sociology
Theory, Ideology, and Identity
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Offers the first systematic and comprehensive overview of sociological thought in Israel, and pleads for a new agenda that would shift the focus from nation building to democratic and egalitarian citizenship formation.
This study explores the changing agenda of Israeli sociology by linking content with context and by offering a historically informed critique of sociology as a theory and as a social institution. It examines, on the one hand, the general theoretical perspectives brought to bear upon sociological studies of Israel and, on the other, the particular social and ideological persuasions with which these studies are imbued.
Ram shows how the agenda of Israeli sociology has changed in correlation with major political transformations in Israel: the long-term hegemony of the Labor Movement up to the 1967 war; the crisis of the labor regime following the 1973 war; and the ascendance of the right wing to governmental power in 1977. Three stages in Israeli sociology, corresponding to these political transformations, are identified: the domination of a functionalist school from the 1950s to the 1970s; a crisis in the mid-1970s; and the profusion of alternative and competing perspectives since the late 1970s. Ram concludes with a plea for a new sociological agenda that would shift the focus from nation building to democratic and egalitarian citizenship formation.
This book offers the first systematic and comprehensive overview of sociological thought in Israel, and by doing so offers a unique interpretation of the social and intellectual history of Israel.
Uri Ram is a lecturer in the Sociology Department at Haifa University. He is the editor of the book Israeli Society: Critical Perspectives and the author of a number of articles published in professional journals.
"I felt stimulated by this bird's-eye view. The analysis not only puts us on intimate terms with Israeli sociology but simultaneously provides us with a richly textured overview of Israeli society and challenges us with new questions and possibilities." — Gershon Shafir, University of California, San Diego
"Ram has written a fine historical critique of Israeli sociology. It aids our understanding of Israeli scholarship and the sociological understanding of Israel, gives us insights into the Israeli academic elite, and is useful as a sociology of knowledge." — Walter P. Zenner, State University of New York, Albany