“And in Israel we became Russians straight away”
Narrative analysis of Russian-Jewish identity in the case study of double migration
Social constructionism suggests that identities are created through interactions with others, as well as the wider socio-cultural environment. This research employs constructionist narrative analysis for a case study of a Russian-Jewish woman who emigrated from Russia to Israel and then to New Zealand. Lara’s first two societies of settlement, Russia and Israel, seem pre-occupied with the ethnic demarcation of their members, which contradicts to how she feels “deep inside”. Ascribed an inferior identity in both, Lara provides rich explanations for her husband’s remark that in Russia they were “bloody Jews” and in Israel they became “bloody Russians”. While making sense of her life experiences, she articulates the complex process of changes and assigns positive meanings to her identity using available cultural resources. Her fascinating narrative provides a unique in-depth account, allowing for a better understanding of the interplay between such notions as identity, agency, and community across different cultural environments.
Keywords: social constructionism, narrative ethnography, constructionist narrative analysis, insider/outsider dilemma, cultural identity, Russian Israeli Jews, immigration, Jewish ethnicity, in-depth interviews
- Narrative approach to the case study analysis
- The rationale for the current study
- Methodological issues
- Lara’s story: Analysis and discussion
Published online: 19 May 2020
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