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"We're alone in this together": the anthropology of fear and Jewish attitudes to antisemitism

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-28, 09:33 authored by Jennifer Creese
Social science literature contains a thread of theory on the experience and function of fear within society. However, despite rising global concerns about antisemitism, Jewish experiences of such fear within a multicultural framework, such as that in Australia, remains largely unexamined on a qualitative basis. Jewish individuals and organizations speak in specific ways about their fears of antisemitism, both inwardly to their communities and outwardly to the public. While experiences and attitudes differ between different countries, this discourse can be interpreted as a performative act which produces, regulates and constrains the identities of Jewish communities, perpetrators and societies in relation to antisemitism. Culture is a factor telling individuals what to fear and how to respond, and fears reflect not only people's firsthand experiences but the collective social norms, values, and moral codes their group wishes to promote. This paper examines Jewish attitudes to antisemitism through the lens of anthropological theories of fear. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with the Jewish community of South East Queensland, Australia, it explores how contemporary antisemitism fears and threats to safety are commonly spoken about within the community and to outsiders, particularly with regards to popular antisemitic stereotyping, “alt-right” activity and radical Islam.

History

Citation

Jennifer Creese (2022) “We’re alone in this together”: the anthropology of fear and Jewish attitudes to antisemitism, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, DOI: 10.1080/14725886.2022.2142774

Author affiliation

Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Leicester

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

JOURNAL OF MODERN JEWISH STUDIES

Pagination

(21)

Publisher

ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD

issn

1472-5886

eissn

1472-5894

Copyright date

2022

Available date

2023-09-28

Language

English

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