Thinking Through Duration

Callan, Brian. 2016. Thinking Through Duration. Anthropology Today, 32(3), pp. 20-23. ISSN 0268-540X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This narrative offers an alternative Jewish Israeli duration of the abduction described by Dalsheim. It agrees that the weight of past experience shapes both present perception and future imagination, reproducing the sense of 'intractable' conflict but argues that subjective and collective experience is mediated by what C. Wright Mills called the 'cultural apparatus'. Taking the case of Israeli Jews who work in solidarity with Palestinian activists, some of whom were raised in extremely right-wing Zionist backgrounds, it shows how subjectivity is shaped by the 'received interpretations' of others. More significantly, it shows how this acculturated sense of self can be transcended by the human faculties described by Hannah Arendt as thinking and judging. Drawing upon his own experiences with these activists in the summer of 2014, the author argues as a sign of hope, that thinking and judging enable a divestment of received interpretations of the cultural apparatus, which define and reproduce the conflict as intractable. Sadly, this duration also describes a period when thinking outside the collective became taboo and Jewish compassion for the deaths of Palestinian women and children was vilified and violently opposed by fellow Jewish countrymen and women. With Israel's cultural apparatus unable to accommodate compassion, there may indeed always be a Gaza War.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)


1 June 2016Published
4 January 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

05 Mar 2018 11:05

Last Modified:

01 Jun 2018 08:56

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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