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“Of Course, I am a Human Being, Too”: Nationalism and Contact in the Republic of Turkey and State of Israel

The Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography. 2018;8(2):32-51 DOI 10.15273/jue.v8i2.8686


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: The Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography

ISSN: 2369-8721 (Online)

Publisher: The Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Anthropology: Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology

Country of publisher: Canada

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF



C. Phifer Nicholson Jr. (Wofford College)


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Time From Submission to Publication: 40 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

This article analyzes the secular and religious nationalisms in the Republic of Turkey and State of Israel as experienced by ethnic and religious minorities in both locales. This ethnographic work focuses on the embodied experiences of individuals in their religious, political, and social entirety, seeking to delve into their lives as an oft-neglected or feared group, and explore their contact (or lack thereof) with members of the majority culture. Semi-structured interviews revealed historical and present-day structures created and maintained through avenues such as media, education, literature, language, and politics that seek to define and separate groups that do not fit the prevailing nationalistic narratives. This is exacerbated by negative contact that is generally oriented around political disagreement and conflict. However, in some cases, positive intergroup contact served to facilitate fundamental changes. Therefore, despite its limitations, contact has the potential to not only reduce prejudice, but also inspire lives of political and humanistic engagement that can undermine the “single stories” stigmatization propagates.