Multiple Identities and Intersectional Theory in the Context of Multiculturalism 1
This article follows the quest for identity of immigrant boys from the Caucasus to Israel, and focuses on the intersectionality of ethnicity, class, and gender in this process. Based on narrative interviews, the article shows the boys’ identities as multifaceted and dynamic, constructed by the boys themselves but also shaped by social forces imposed on them. The boys construct their identities in response to “identity wounds”: experiences of prejudice, pain, and degradation that are linked with the low value attributed to their ethnicity in Israeli society, and that occur in three different social arenas (the schools, the family and its relations to the labor market, and the social milieu). The boys respond to the attack on their ethnicity through forming an idealized ethnic identity, characterized by hyper-masculinity. Based on high levels of social solidarity and brotherhood, Kavkazi masculinity serves them as a source for individual power and pride as well as to protect the value of the ethnic community. The findings are discussed in the context of multiculturalism in Israel.
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