People of the Book: Resistances to the Media in Israel
Department of Communication, University of Haifa, Israel
Visiting Scholar, Department of Religious Studies, University of Tennessee
In contemporary society avoiding media has become a challenge. If exposure to media was once confined to a number of well-defined spheres and moments in the day, today the media is omnipresent and continuous, requiring no disengagement or resumption. The ubiquity and convergence of the media has transformed the act of turning it “off” from a routine unmarked moment into a conscious effort and a personal statement. “Not watching” now signifies the adoption of a “media avoidance” lifestyle, a lifestyle which is flexibly defined and interpreted depending upon community and class context. Within this framework, this talk asks how people avoid, limit, discontinue or re-negotiate the use of communication technologies in Israel. Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Israel’s founding leader David Ben Gurion opposed the introduction of television to the land of the “People of the Book.” He was not alone in seeking to preserve the nature of his community from a technology that was deemed incompatible with its norms and practices. The talk will highlight resistances to media among various Israeli groups – specifically, green, Ultra-Orthodox, Palestinian and Kibbutz communities – and situate their distinctive negotiations with those media within the current context of cultural and technological convergence.
Co-sponsored by The Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, Departments of Religious Studies and History, Rebecca Solomon and Ida Schwartz Distinguished Lecture Fund, University of Tennessee; Knoxville Jewish Alliance, and the Jewish Community of Knoxville
Thursday, 06 November, 2008
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