Deconstructing Racial Boundaries: Case Study of an Emerging Urban Movement in Tel Aviv

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:45 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Petra ANDITS , Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
During the last few years, Israel has been witnessing an unprecedented level of racism against the African refugee community. Not only immigrants are racialized as the  “threatening other”,  but also the spaces they create and inhabit are coded as racialized. The marginalized low-income neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv, the new home of the asylum seekers, became the primary arena of struggles, conflicts, tensions and intolerance. I draw on ethnographic research conducted in South Tel Aviv, to examine the ways in which an emerging social movement “Power to the Community” attempts to provide a radical alternative by constructing a bridge between the Africans and the veteran residents and thereby turning the  “place of fear” into a  “home for all”. I look at the innovative tactics the movement uses to reshape symbolic, relational, and physical boundaries in the community. In particular, I investigate the renewed victimization and vilification discourses and the ways in which the movement gives voice to insofar silenced concerns about the broader socio-demographic status quo within the city of Tel Aviv and Israel in general. I combine insights from work written on framing, tactics and innovation in the social movement literature with studies of NIMBY-ism and urban geography.