Sorting procedures in enclosed rural communities: Admitting 'people like us' into renewing kibbutzim in northern Israel

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This paper examines the attempts made by the renewing kibbutzim to maintain their way of life as much as possible through the adjustment of their gating mechanisms. In this type of a rural gated community, sorting procedures and admittance criteria of nonmembers are the most notable elements. Background material and interviews with informants at eight kibbutzim on Israel's northern periphery enabled us to outline the overt and covert aspects of these procedures from the gatekeepers' viewpoint. In the context of a segregated society, sorting procedures are maintained, reinforced, and challenged by locally-led and state-sponsored regulations. Our findings show how sorting powers allow kibbutzim to exercise tight control on their own behalf. To minimize foreseeable frictions and to maintain some recognized ethnic and socio-cultural fundamentals (middle-class, Jewish, secular), recruiting 'people like us' and excluding others has become the accepted practice. Social enclosure is implemented and maintained not simply by mechanisms of self-selection but by careful monitoring this distinct territorial entity by the gatekeepers. In fact, their practices assist in turning a unique type of a gated community into a typical neoliberal gated community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 438/08 ).


  • Gated communities
  • Gatekeepers
  • Israel
  • Kibbutzim
  • Sorting procedures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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