From Soldiering and Motherhood to Citizenship: A Study of Four Israeli Peace Protest Movements


Helman, Sara. 1999. “From Soldiering and Motherhood to Citizenship: A Study of Four Israeli Peace Protest Movements.” Social Politics 6 (3): 292-313.

Author: Sara Helman


This article discusses the paradox of the Israeli peace movement. The Israeli peace movement draws on consensual militaristic symbols— mainly the fighter's role and republican motherhood. However, it has not succeeded in broadening its constituency beyond the Ashkenazi middle classes. It is maintained that this contradiction stems from the ways in which war and conflict management shaped the citizenship regime in Israel. War and routine conflict management have ethnicized and genderized citizenship in Israel. The ethnicization and gendering of citizenship have resulted from the differential incorporation of social categories in national missions as they were conceived in light of the routine management of conflict and of war. This differential incorporation has constituted social identities. These identities in turn are mobilized in collective action frameworks to challenge the war politics of the state. The main two identities mobilized, the fighter's role and motherhood, have not been successful in broadening the constituency of the Israeli peace movement. Moreover, the radicalization of collective action frameworks—signaled by the progressive transition from soldiering and motherhood to citizenship—narrowed the appeal of the peace movement. This radicalization has exposed the cultural, political, and economic interests of the leadership and constituency of the peace movement.

Topics: Combatants, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 1999

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