Of Thorns and Flowers: Consuming Identities in the Negev

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Set in Israel’s northern Negev, Beersheva’s concrete and glass cityscape arises unexpectedly from a monotonous vista of yellowish land, sporadically dotted by black goat-hair tents. Middle-class Jewish Israelis, who come to the Old City to shop for particular products or to obtain professional services, often feel uncomfortable. Suddenly it is they who become marked in this multi-ethnic, globalized world. The idea of being an unmarked person at BIG extends way beyond ethnic or gender boundaries. A more poetic and geographically suitable version of the same idea was offered by a salesman in of the stores who explained BIG’s popularity by quoting the popular saying, “Every thorn in the desert is a flower.” BIG’s name and landscape speak to the colorful world of limitless opportunities that America represents to many Israelis. Most shoppers at BIG are native-speakers of Hebrew and seem to be comfortably ensconced in Israel’s middle classes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConsumption and Market Society in Israel
EditorsYoram S. Carmeli , Kalman Applbaum
PublisherBerg Publishers
StatePublished - 2004


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