Pioneering women revisited: Representations of gender in some Israeli settlement museums

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This study examines the representation of women in museums that are devoted to the preservation and celebration of the Zionist nation-building ethos of the 1920s and 1930s (i.e., Israel's pre-state era). These representations are encoded in the rhetoric of the museum guides. In the official discourse and the interpretive stances to which they give voice, the museums that provided ethnographic sites for this inquiry uphold the prevalent myth of gender equality in pioneering groups as if relates to women's participation in the male-dominated pubic sphere of "productivity" in agricultural and road construction work. At the same time, they reproduce representations of women as ambivalent participants in the pioneering enterprise. Their positioning within the redefined domestic sphere of communal living, women all too often remain marginalized participants; at times they are even "storified" as essentially objects of the male gaze.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-687
Number of pages13
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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