Face control: everynight selection and “the other”

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper analyzes micro-inequality in Tel Aviv night clubs, relying upon Levinas’s concept of the face. In-depth interviews with nightclub doormen, or “selectors”, as they are called in Israel, revealed that the clients’ faces comprise a critical component of their screening work. At the same time, they reported that customers’ faces make it difficult for them to do their jobs and force them to engage in evading faces and suspending ethical judgments. The paper shows how in these face-to-face interactions, the face of the “Other” (the “dangerous” Mizrahi male client) is fully recognized and then suspended, enabling the selectors to affirm and then resist its ethical call. The paper’s discussion points to some of the implications of the ability of the selectors to affirm and resist the ethical obligation that Levinas attributes to the face, including a focus on the selectors’ justification of violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)946-965
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 3 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Israel Science Foundation: [Grant number 1598/12].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Face
  • Israel
  • Levinas
  • Mizrahim
  • micro-inequality
  • night clubs
  • social selection
  • status signals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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