Neoliberal Occupation: Framing the Israeli J14 Movement Collective Identity by State Bureaucracy

  • Abstract:

    This study focuses on the interpretation and construction of the Israeli J14 protest movement collective identity by state bureaucracy. The analysis focuses on the Trachtenberg committee which was assigned by Israeli prime minister in order to meet the demands of the demonstrators. By conducting critical discourse analysis this study wishes to reveal the ways in which Israeli state bureaucrats used specific interpretative frames which served their political interests regarding the J14 movement. The Israeli J14 movement of summer 2011 was part of a global protest wave which demanded social justice on behalf of “the people” by arguing against the rising costs of living and the retrenchment of the welfare state. Due to diverse social composition the claims of the protestors were inclusive, so as to build a wide collective identity that would comprise under a single movement the different ethno-classes in Israel. However, state bureaucrats framed the movement’s collective identity and translated its claims in narrow terms. This framing process excluded from the movement’s collective identity specific social groups that did not fit into the mold of the “normative” and “worthy” subject that was constructed by the Trachtenberg committee. The framing of the J14 movement collective identity served as a mechanism which enabled the Trachtenberg committee to advance the neo-liberal agenda of Israeli state. In order to translate the J14 movement’s demands into frames which corresponded with Israeli state’s socio-economic agendas the Trachtenberg committee used collective frames that were transformable into neoliberal discourse. This transformation of the collective identity enabled the committee to preserve the power relations and interests that are expressed in the politics of the Israeli fiscal bureaucracy.