Immigrant Dispersal in Settler Societies: Mizrahim and Russians in Israel Under the Press of Hegemony
AbstractImmigrants in settler societies contribute to state- and nation-building projects by settling small-size peripheral towns. This process benefits the dominant groups and promotes their economic and national interests, but at the same time establishes the inferior position of the immigrants and prevents them from gaining power. Changes in immigrant absorption and dispersal policy, which aim to reflect a tolerance towards the immigrants' demands, do not necessarily change the immigrants' social and geographical position. This paper claims that these changes are only semantic ones, aimed at concealing the real objective of the immigrant's settlement process: promotion of the dominant group's interests. The latter employs a Gramscian approach of hegemony in order to gain the consent of the great masses of the population, including the immigrants themselves. In order to verify this argument, this paper traces the immigrant absorption and dispersal policy of Israel since 1948, and focuses on the form of settlement of Mizrahim and Russians in peripheral development towns. The paper uses two surveys taken in the development towns, and official documents of the State of Israel.
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