Economic Citizenship at the Intersection of Nation, Class, and Gender: The Case of Palestinian Women in Israel

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This paper looks at the adaptation of the idea of economic citizenship (EC), or the conditioning of civil inclusion on economic par-ticipation, to the Palestinian citizens of Israel, who as a national minority are subject to long-standing political discrimination. I focus on two categories of women—low-income, poorly educated women and middle-class professional women—to explore the articulation of EC at the intersection of gender, class, and nationality. I argue that in the current phase of Israeli neoliberal ethnocracy, EC is offered as a bypass mechanism intended to allow the state to sustain the Jewish-and-democratic complex by reducing “democratic” to a free-market version, with minimal public and legal accountability, while continuing to buttress the “Jewish” component. However, the ethnographic zoom on women’s complex reactions shows that they invest the idea with practical meanings that complicate its connotations. They do develop expectations that paid employment will expand their social inclusion yet remain savvy regarding their perilous position as Palestinians in Israeli society and, depending on class, the profitability of permanent employment. Their experiences show that while the economic path hardly seems to undermine the Palestinians’ political rejection, it provides a new channel for their continued uncanny membership of the citizenry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-122
Number of pages19
JournalCurrent Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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