“Of Course, I am a Human Being, Too”: Nationalism and Contact in the Republic of Turkey and State of Israel

C. Phifer Nicholson Jr.

Abstract


This article analyzes the secular and religious nationalisms in the Republic of Turkey and State of Israel as experienced by ethnic and religious minorities in both locales. This ethnographic work focuses on the embodied experiences of individuals in their religious, political, and social entirety, seeking to delve into their lives as an oft-neglected or feared group, and explore their contact (or lack thereof) with members of the majority culture. Semi-structured interviews revealed historical and present-day structures created and maintained through avenues such as media, education, literature, language, and politics that seek to define and separate groups that do not fit the prevailing nationalistic narratives. This is exacerbated by negative contact that is generally oriented around political disagreement and conflict. However, in some cases, positive intergroup contact served to facilitate fundamental changes. Therefore, despite its limitations, contact has the potential to not only reduce prejudice, but also inspire lives of political and humanistic engagement that can undermine the “single stories” stigmatization propagates.

Keywords


nationalism; contact theory; Turkey; Israel-Palestine

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15273/jue.v8i2.8686

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The JUE is a peer-reviewed online journal that publishes original ethnographic research by undergraduates working in a variety of disciplines. Submissions are welcomed. Contact the Editor, Martha Radice.

ISSN 2369-8721