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The struggles of ‘Isreality’: Dynamic identity change and social movement participation among Israeli refusers. Eden Tosch & John Drury Department of Psychology: University of Sussex. The decision is made alone, by any soldier, not necessarily by activists. Trajectory of Radicalization.

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The struggles of ‘Isreality’: Dynamic identity change and social movement participation among Israeli refusers

Eden Tosch & John Drury Department of Psychology: University of Sussex

slide3

The decision is made alone,

by any soldier,

not necessarily by activists

trajectory of radicalization
Trajectory of Radicalization
  • Participants display a shift towards increasingly critical views on the Israeli military and power structures and an increasing commitment to act for change.
trajectory of radicalization5
Trajectory of Radicalization
  • Develops where an ‘asymmetry of representations’ exist
    • incongruity of refusers’ self-identity compared to how they are perceived (and treated) by others
    • Representations held by Authority Figures with power over the refusers
trajectory of radicalization6
Trajectory of Radicalization
  • Defined within the Elaborated Social Identity Model (ESIM) as the development of an enduring critical attitude towards those in power

(ESIM; Drury & Reicher, 2000; Reicher, 1996a, b, 2001; Stott & Reicher, 1998)

the elaborated social identity model
The Elaborated Social Identity Model
  • Past ESIM studies:
    • Set in UK
    • Showdynamic patterned identity shifts
    • Protestors in environments offace-to-face crowd conflictwith authority
    • Authority represented by police or security forces
  • Radicalization appears in response
broadening the elaborated social identity model
Broadening The Elaborated Social Identity Model
  • This Study:
    • Set in Israel
    • Show dynamic patterned identity shifts
    • Refusers in environments of distal conflict with authority
    • Authority represented by distal inter-group relationships: military actions and social condemnation
  • Radicalization appears in response
who are the participants
Who are the participants:
  • 11 Israeli Refusers representing the spectrum of Israeli refusers.
    • 9 men and 2 women.
    • middle to upper middle class, Ashkenazi (European) background.
    • From left leaning left families.
    • Most sabra (born and raised in Israel).
    • University educated, four with graduate degrees.
    • 4 officers, 1 sergeant, 1Shminist, 2 ‘grey’ refusers
    • 2 served jail time; all others said they would be willing to go to jail.
theme asymmetry of representation
Theme: ASYMMETRY OF REPRESENTATION
  • Refusers discuss differences between how they perceive their action (and thus their identity) and how they experience other’s perceptions of them….
theme asymmetry of representation11
Theme: ASYMMETRY OF REPRESENTATION

…and you love your country blindless, you know. –J

a big part is Israeli society is thinking “traitors” (laughter). Or terrorists—lots of people think that. I mean, I am sure that people think that they should be hanged… –O

theme asymmetry of representation12
Theme: ASYMMETRY OF REPRESENTATION

And I think that the reason I am not the same (as a friend who emigrated) is because I’m so connected. Because I see myself as an Israeli and I, in some place in my heart, I don’t want to give up (…) and so the answer is yes, that’s what made me, able to sacrifice all that: Because I feel this connection, ‘cause many people blame me as, you know, as a traitor, you know ‘you hate your own’, you know, ‘you hate yourself’, ‘you hate your people’.—S

theme becoming activists
Theme: BECOMING ACTIVISTS
  • Refusers go from attending protests to organizing protests
  • They publish articles, speak publicly, organize and participate in events, study related academic subjects, and produce politicized art and music
theme becoming activists14
Theme: BECOMING ACTIVISTS

I was brought up on the zionistic notions. But the first time i really felt ‘one with the cause’ for me it was very, can i say– shaping experience? It really… it really shaped me. –A

theme becoming activists15
Theme: BECOMING ACTIVISTS

I think you don’t really have a choice … I think, I don’t think I wanted to—at the beginning at least I didn’t really thought about this—‘let’s, let’s go and shout this everywhere.’

But since--- everybody had something to say about it, everyone I knew had something to say about it, you know, (…) you come to be a spokes-person whether you want it or not. Later it developed into a situation where… I, I’m happy to speak. –O

theme refusers and palestinians
Theme: REFUSERS AND PALESTINIANS
  • Ethno-national discourse of Israel prohibits cooperation and even association with Arabs
  • Refusers see ‘them’ as ‘us’ in an act of ‘social creativity’ (Reicher, p.323) -- an imaginative re-categorization

Reicher, S. (1996) Social identity and social change: Rethinking the context of social psychology. In Robinson, W.P. ed. Social groups and identities: Developing the legacy of Henri Tajfel. Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann.

theme refusers and palestinians17
Theme: REFUSERS AND PALESTINIANS
  • symbolically inverting Israeli identity

An ex-pilot, and reservist of many years S:

‘I’m just, my heart now is, is now with the weak side’

A 21-year-old woman, D speaks somewhat tongue-in-cheek:

‘I’m on the side that hates me.’

theme refusers and palestinians18
Theme: REFUSERS AND PALESTINIANS

And those people were in my mind you know, all the time,

like an open eye inside my mind, looking at my lips, not saying that ‘I’m a pilot’.

So this is some kind of a connection, a relation with Palestinians but I was not friend of them or something, but I think it was another important part on this process.–S

context israel
Context: Israel
  • Israeli Defense Force the ‘peoples’ army’
  • Israeliness : collective fate and shared identity, interweaving of individual and national identities bound within political situations and ideological narratives
  • Rejection of military = rejection of Israeli identity
authority direct v distal
Authority: Direct v. Distal
  • Social disapproval carries a heavy weight
  • Significant enough to be compared to the police repression of previous ESIM studies
  • Punishment for refusing is the rejection of the community, limited access to education and employment opportunities, exclusion even from some peace organizations, and the enduring distain of many.
summary
Summary
  • Radicalization
  • Critical Identity as outcome not (just) determinant
  • Distal as well as Proximal relations with Authority
  • Iraeli-ness struggled over rather than rejected