Telling The Story of A Politicized National History: The Field and Habitus Making of Israeli Historians

  • Abstract:

    Israeli historians have shaped some of the national narratives while establishing Israel’s geopolitical and socio-cultural self-determination. A sociological toolkit enables us to detect the social and political features of Israeli historians (as a hermeneutic community) through their interpersonal relations as well as the trajectory of their careers by delineating the fields and structural dispositions they themselves contribute to select, codify, formalize and even institutionalize (i.e. the national ethos as an interiorized habitus). Israeli history as a social construction can be analyzed by delineating a process consisting of both prosopographical categorization and the description of the “geographic” contours of the historiographical field; both contain a variety of individual, sometimes incoherent, attitudes and professional experiences. Thus, while critically following the dividing line between the world of academia (with all its institutions and inner dynamics) and the general socio-political space, the generations of Israeli historians and the nature of their intellectual work (the field of ideas) form a solidly social unit to investigate.