The Others Within Us: Constructing Jewish-Israeli Identity

Dan Bar-On’s psychosocial approach sees identity as dynamic, constructed in contra-distinction to various Others. Drawing parallels to other societies, he looks most closely at identity formation among Israelis, or more precisely, among the largely secular Jews from European lands who formed the hegemonic backbone of Israeli society. Case studies and analysis depict various stages in identity formation, as do ‘personal windows’ onto the author as he experienced these stages. Others such as Diaspora Jews, Jews from Muslim countries, and Arabs represent repressed aspects of the collective self. Monolithic identity disintegrates over time, in ways that are often confusing and painful. The perception of threat often creates a ‘neo-monolithic backlash’. Yet the book holds out the possibility of a constructive dialogue, internal and among groups in society, that will give rise to a better-integrated and more inclusive identity construction.

• Innovatively delineates four stages in the development of Israeli collective identity • Demonstrates the relevance of these four stages to other countries in the age of globalization • Uses case studies and qualitative research methods to exemplify developmental stages


1. The past: monolithic identity construction; 2. The present I: Disintegration of the monolithic construction; 3. The present II: the neo-monolithic construction; 4. The future: a dialogue between disintegrated aspects of identity; Postscript.

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