Through the Lens of Israel

Explorations in State and Society

By Joel S. Migdal

Subjects: Political Science
Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Paperback : 9780791449868, 248 pages, April 2001
Hardcover : 9780791449851, 248 pages, May 2001

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Table of contents


PART I. Introduction

1. Myths and Models: The State-in-Society Approach and the Experience of Israel

PART II. State Making

2. The Crystallization of the State and the Struggles over Rule Making: Israel in Comparative Perspective

3. Laying the Basis for a Strong State: The British and Zionists in Palestine

4. Vision and Practice: The Leader, the State, and the Transformation of Society

PART III. Society Making

5. Civil Society in Israel

6. Society Formation and the Case of Israel

PART IV. Social Crisis

7. Changing Boundaries and Social Crisis: Israel and the 1967 War

8. The Odd Man Out, Arabs in Israel with Baruch Kimmerling




Essays on the formation of Israeli state and society during the twentieth century.


Through the Lens of Israel illuminates Israeli history through the use of the author's unique state-in-society approach, and, at the same time, refines, develops, and expands that approach. The book provides a window for the formation of Israeli state and society during the twentieth century, while using the Israeli experience to ask how social scientists can better investigate and understand other societies as well. Three central themes of Israeli history are at the core of the analysis—state formation, society formation, and the mutually constitutive roles of state and society. By analyzing how Israel's state and society continually reconstruct one another, Migdal addresses larger questions with resonance far beyond Israel: How do particular societies and states end up with their distinctive character? How are the rules that shape everyday behavior determined? Who gains from these rules and who loses? And how and when do these rules and patterns of privilege change?

Joel S. Migdal is Robert F. Philip Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington. His most recent work includes State Power and Social Forces: Domination and Transformation in the Third World (coedited with Atul Kohli and Vivienne Shue).


"This is one of the most original and important books on Israel in years—a rare work of first-class scholarship that is so well written it can be read with profit by the educated reader, students, and scholars. " — Myron J. Aronoff, author of Power and Ritual in the Israel Labor Party: A Study in Political Anthropology

"Fascinating, readable, and highly original. Combines a mastery of the Israeli case with far-reaching theoretical insights. " — Eva Bellin, Harvard University