Major and minor languages of ethnicity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article proposes using the theoretical discussions of Deleuze and Guattari as a means of comprehending the various ways in which individuals speak about their ethnic identity. This is done through a case study of a state-run educational boarding school offered to subjects identified as 'ethnic' in Israel. The findings expose two ways of talking about ethnic identity: 'minor language' and 'major language'. What I term the 'major language of ethnicity' makes substantial use of state language and offers two hierarchical categories that serve as an archetype for classifying groups. The 'minor language of ethnicity', on the other hand, offers multiple local identifications and potential identity alternatives. The article suggests using dynamics at the foundation of these concepts to consider the position of the researcher and to expose existential 'lines of flight' and life inventions of subjects in everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-72
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Classification
  • Deleuze
  • Ethnicity
  • Guattari
  • Hierarchies
  • Major language
  • Minor language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Arts and Humanities


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