Community Re-Building: Labor Pains for the Birth of a New Community in a Renewed or Privatized Kibbutz

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Yuval ACHOUCH, Western Galilee College, Israel
In the late 80's of the 20th century the Israeli kibbutz movement was hit by a serious and multi-dimensional crisis: economic, ideologic, and demographic. Young people left and population aged since there was no absorption of new members for nearly 20 years. So, kibbutz communities were dying.

During the early 21st century, and similarly to 80% of the 270 kibbutzim today, my kibbutz has undergone a process of privatization of expenses, first, then incomes and assets. Later, new population was integrated as residents or non-full members (members without ownership/shareholding on the economic assets of the kibbutz). So, the settlement was saved but the unified community split into diverse groups with diverging interests and beliefs. Pluralization of status (and class) in the kibbutz now threats the community and undermines solidarity.

The aim of this paper is to describe how people in a privatized kibbutz, despite their diversity, socialize (in institutional and non-institutional ways) to rebuild the community as a sense of place, a community sharing common perspectives, and how social practices attempt to forge a common identity.