Constructing the Boundaries of Social Consciousness under Conditions of War: The Urban Jewish Society in Eretz Yisrael/Palestine during World War I

Constructing the Boundaries of Social Consciousness under Conditions of War: The Urban Jewish Society in Eretz Yisrael/Palestine during World War I

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Anat Kidron

The paper deals with the impact of World War I on the construction of new social boundaries and social consciousness within urban Jewish societies in Palestine. The paper’s main contention is that changes in definitions of social boundaries are not merely a reaction to changing conditions—they also involve an active structuring process by elite groups. In the case examined here, New Yishuv public leaders made efforts to place the social discourse within the framework of the national discourse by, for example, influencing the conscious experience and understanding of everyday life. The study examines changes in the way social definitions were used to construct social consciousness, particularly the use of the definitions of “Old Yishuv” and “New Yishuv” to differentiate between nonnationalists and nationalists.