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Crisis and Transformation
The Kibbutz at Century's End
Crisis and Transformation
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Eliezer Ben-Rafael - Author
SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 282 pages
Release Date: February 1997
ISBN10: 0-7914-3225-4
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-3225-9

Price: $32.95 
Paperback - 282 pages
Release Date: January 1997
ISBN10: 0-7914-3226-2
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-3226-6

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Examines kibbutz life following the Israeli economic crisis of 1985, focusing on the kibbutz's dramatic transformation from a well-defined social structure to a collective identified principally by its cultural preoccupations.

This book examines kibbutz life following the Israeli economic crisis of 1985, focusing on the kibbutz's dramatic transformation from a well-defined social structure to a collective identified principally by its cultural preoccupations. It centers on the contradictions endemic to kibbutz identity. Ben-Rafael shows how the crisis brought together a general pro-change Zeitgeist with the interests of the kibbutz's stronger social segments and individuals to produce widespread changes and the fragmentation of kibbutz reality as a whole. The book's findings are based on a large-scale research investigation (1991-1994) headed up by Ben-Rafael that included twenty research studies and involved the participation of researchers from diverse social-science disciplines. The book also provides a statistical abstract and a comprehensive kibbutz bibliography.

"In the field of kibbutz studies, this will be the most important book of the decade. Anyone with a general interest in Israel is likely to be interested in reading this book as well. The family, gender, education, economy, and polity are handled with a remarkable degree of competence and thoroughness. There are few scholars who could handle so much diverse material as well." -- Raymond Russell,University of California, Riverside

"An important contribution to the study of the kibbutz. The topic is significant and important for several fields of study, such as the study of Israel, the study of communal and alternative societies and organizations, and the study of postmodernism." -- Menachem Rosner, Institute for Research on the Kibbutz and the Cooperative Idea, University of Haifa

"This book is excellent in all areas--philosophy, theory, data, contemporary issues, and analytical insights. The high intellectual tone and the specific topic, I believe, make the book most interesting and unique." -- Efraim Ben-Zadok, Florida Atlantic University

Eliezer Ben-Rafael is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University. He is the author or co-author of eleven other books, the most recent of which is Language, Identity, and Social Division: The Case of Israel, and is National Chairperson of the Israel Sociological Society.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables


1. Kibbutz Identity

The Reality of Utopia

Social Change and Transformation

The Identity Dilemmas of the Kibbutznik

The Expectations of the Investigation

2. The Crisis

Human and Economic Resources

Building Power — and Losing it

From the Political Setback to the Economic Crisis

Questioning the Kibbutz Identity

3. A Shattered Community

Status, Conflict, and Change

Forces of De-collectivization

Socialization and Discontinuation

The New Kind of Social Obligation

4. Kibbutz Capitalism Challenged

A Socialism De-luxe

Changes in the Kibbutz Enterprise

Commercialization, Privatization and Security

Toward Recovery?

5. Kibbutz and Society

The Dilemmas of Elitism

Toward Pluralism

A New Type of Kibbutz Movement?

6. Behind the Transformation

Aspirations for Change

The Social Distribution of Aspirations

In Conclusion

7. Implementing Change

Investigating Social Transformation

Categories of Kibbutzim

The Politics of Change

The Vicissitudes of Implementing Change

In Conclusion

8. The Transformation of Identity

The Context of Crisis

Old Dilemmas in New Terms

The Role of the Technocrats

Social Cohesion and Fragmentation

The Revenge and Reality of the Anarchist Utopia

Appendix 1: Correlation Analyses

Appendix 2: Statistical Abstract—The Kibbutzim in the 1990s




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