The new face of control: Arab education under neoliberal policy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The literature is full of research accounts aimed at demonstrating how the Arab-Palestinian education system in Israel (hereinafter Arab education) has been controlled through policies and practices that result in unequal allocation of state resources, lack of recognition of the Palestinian minority’s cultural needs, and marginalization of the influence of Arab leadership on education policy (e.g., Abu-Asbe 2007; Abu-Saad 2004, 2006; Agbaria 2013; al-Haj 1995; Amara and Mar’i 2002; Arar and Abu-Asbe 2013; Jabareen and Agbaria 2010; Makkawi 2002; Mazawi 1994; Rouhana and Ghanem 1999). A common thread in this literature is the long-standing argument according to which Arab education in Israel is found in a constant struggle between control and mobility. On the one hand, Palestinian society in Israel seeks to use the education system for empowerment and socioeconomic mobility; on the other, the state of Israel employs various mechanisms to use it as an effective means of discipline and control. This includes close surveillance of the system, eliminating any national content from the curriculum, and co-opting Arab academics and turning them into technocratic and apolitical teachers (Mazawi 1994). However, this literature lags behind the new realities created by the power of identity politics and the forces of globalization and economic liberalization in Israel. As the Palestinian minority’s capacities to resist Israeli direct and gross methods of control have expanded dramatically, and as the state’s need to accommodate its control technologies to the market-driven and highly ethnically politicized education system, the notion of control can no longer be solely perceived as the embodiment of state-centered, top-down, and unidirectional strategies of power, as traditionally presented in the literature on Arab education in Israel. In particular, the literature on Arab education has rarely addressed the neoliberal policies that have dominated education in Israel since the early 1980s with a growing emphasis on privatization, school performance, standards, and testing (Dahan and Yonah 2006a, 2006b; Yogev 2007). How these policies have influenced the Arab education system, or how this system is now controlled through these policies, has not been adequately studied.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIsrael and its Palestinian Citizens
Subtitle of host publicationEthnic Privileges in the Jewish State
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9781107045316
ISBN (Print)9781107044838
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2017.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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