Carefully on the margins: Christian Palestinians in Haifa between nation and state

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Christian Palestinians in Israel are a religious minority within a national minority. Among the Palestinians of Haifa, however, they are a majority and an elite. By examining practices of children's socialization, I follow the ongoing process of boundary maintenance among Christian Palestinians in the city of Haifa as they navigate among their potentially conflictual affiliations with the Israeli state, the Palestinian nation, and the Christian religious community. Christian Palestinians vacillate between Christian ethnocentrism on the one hand and Palestinian national identification on the other. I argue that these seemingly contradictory attitudes and practices are responses to and a utilization of the broader political economy of Israeli Palestinians, which has itself been dynamic and even contradictory. Furthermore, I argue that we can use the perspective of such a group on the margins to highlight some of the conflictual aspects of the broader nation-state system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-239
Number of pages25
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1998


  • Christian Palestinians
  • Marginality
  • Nation-state
  • Oppositional behavior
  • Palestinians in Israel
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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