Gender Research between Identity and Policy: The Case of Israeli Social Sciences in the 21st Century

Chen Misgav, Orna Sasson-Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This review of gender research in 21st century Israel offers a twofold argument. The first is that Israeli gender literature follows parallel tracks: identity studies that serve as a platform for marginalized groups, and policy studies which examine the impact of economic, political, and legal policies on the status of women. Although the two approaches follow very different tracks, they are closely related and linked by feminist activism. This distinction is the organizing axis of our article. The second argument is that current gender literature in Israel is shaped mainly by neoliberalism and neocolonialism as opposed to a literature that traditionally focused on the nation state as the dominant power constituting gender relations. Neoliberal governance is not limited to economics or politics. It extends rather to newly gendered subjects, shapes citizenship patterns, and reorganizes society. Neocolonialism and the militarism it maintains attain a constitutive status in local experience, with a key role in identity politics, the gendering of political action and most importantly, the perpetration of gender inequalities. Our study indicates that gender research in Israel is shaped around neoliberalism and neocolonialism, both of which generate identification and resistance. Thus, despite the common tendency of gender scholars to oppose both neoliberalism and neocolonialism, a social division into multiple gender identity groups, as well as Israel's gender policies, may inadvertently serve the interests of both neoliberal and neocolonial regimes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-30
Number of pages21
JournalIsrael Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Gender Studies
  • Identity Studies
  • Mizrahi feminism
  • Neocolonialism
  • Neoliberalism.
  • Policy Studies
  • Sexuality
  • Social Sciences in Israel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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