Whose Neighbourhood is It? On Belonging and Neighbourhood Citizenship in the Baka Neighbourhood of Jerusalem

Hila Zaban

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

4 Scopus citations


The neighbourhood of Baka in Jerusalem, Israel is heavily populated with Jewish immigrants from Western countries who are a part of the long standing on-going gentrification process of the neighbourhood. The immigrants have influenced the neighbourhood in many ways, including the strengthening of a tradition of participation in local affairs. The on-going gentrification process has also created a heterogeneous community of people of various social groups who on the one hand wish to live in pluralist atmosphere but on the other strive to keep the neighbourhood ‘theirs.' Residents’ sense of belonging to the neighbourhood as well as their commitment to it makes them struggle against any perceived threats to their quality of life. By participating, sometimes alongside and sometimes in opposition to the city council, the local governance institution and each other, residents are performing democracy on a small scale and becoming citizens of their neighbourhood. Neighbourhood citizenship, I shall claim, is a form of citizenship that is evolving alongside other forms of citizenship, above or below the state level. Using examples from one neighbourhood and its residents’ participation and struggles, I would claim that being committed to a place nowadays makes one want to participate in determining and shaping the character of that place. This in turn is constructing new forms of citizenship that are constantly in progress and evolution. The world is currently dominated by grassroots movements of people demanding to take part in the decision making that affects their lives starting from the most local level. Using ethnographic detailed examples that show the various interests, decision-making process, power struggles, values and ability to make a difference, I would show that this is what local level participation looks like today. I would also claim that the concept of neighbourhood citizenship helps us better understand the world we live in.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiversity and Turbulences in Contemporary Global Migration
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781848881860
ISBN (Print)9789004372146
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Belonging
  • Israel
  • Jerusalem
  • commitment
  • democracy
  • gentrification
  • immigration
  • neighbourhood citizenship
  • participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Whose Neighbourhood is It? On Belonging and Neighbourhood Citizenship in the Baka Neighbourhood of Jerusalem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this