Jewish identification and critical theory: The political significance of conceptual categories


Conference Paper

© 2014, © The Author(s) 2014 Reprints and permissions: This symposium examines how various discursive frameworks inform Jewish and non-Jewish interpretations of Jewishness. Although the specific characteristics of these frameworks are context-dependent, the underlying themes remain the same: Jewish identification entails identifying “difference,” and this process of drawing distinctions between Jews and non-Jews gets developed in discursive frameworks of temporality, “race thinking,” nationalism, and genetics, among others. In the broader contexts within which Jewish identification is formulated, these frameworks serve to: (i) delineate categories of people on the basis of socially salient qualities associated with human and other bodies; (ii) evaluate these categorical “types” in regard to their determined “desirable” and “undesirable” qualities; (iii) implement institutionally sanctioned measures that facilitate the privileging of the people who apparently embody desired qualities; and (iv) enforce structural constraints within which people may choose to contest, re-inscribe, re-appropriate, and/or attempt to transform components of the other three networks mentioned above. It also emphasizes the significance of who mobilizes these discourses, with what objectives in mind, and how both factors instantiate discursive and discursively informed concretized outcomes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Glauz-Todrank, AE; Boyarin, J; Silverblatt, I; Geller, J; Gross, A; Imhoff, S; Sippy, S

Published Date

  • August 1, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 165 - 194

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2050-3040

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2050-3032

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/2050303214535009

Citation Source

  • Scopus