State versus civil society? A non-binary model of domination through the example of Israel

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Through the Israeli case, the article questions the validity of the Western liberal model according to which (civil) "society" and "state" are two separate entities, the state ostensibly existing outside the society and imposing its will on it. Covering five distinct historical periods, from the beginning of the century until the present, and utilizing Antonio Gramsci's concept of hegemony, the article surveys one of Israel's core myths, if not the core itself, that of the pioneer (halutz). The result exposes an intriguing system of domination, which is based on intensive activity and responsiveness of the population, and on a blurred distinction between the rulers and the ruled, between objects and subjects, and between state and society. Because of the existence of this system of domination it is difficult to talk about Israel in terms of a despotic state; hence also the obstacle to the constitution of a civil society in Israel. For this is effectively a hegemonic system of domination, which repels all social change by its ability to absorb any innovation and shape its meaning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-396
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Historical Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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