Powers of Diaspora: Two Essays on the Relevance of Jewish Culture
by Author Jonathan Boyarin (9781299913592)

Powers of Diaspora: Two Essays on the Relevance of Jewish Culture
Author Jonathan Boyarin
Format: Undefined
Pages: 200
Category: Sociology
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 9781299913592
ISBN-10: 1299913598

Diaspora: the scattering of a people, often described as a condition of helplessness and a pathology to be overcome. It can also be, as Jonathan Boyarin and Daniel Boyarin assert in this provocative work, a unique source of power and strength. Focusing on Jewish experience, Powers of Diaspora forcefully argues that diasporic communities exercise a distinct form of cultural power in order to maintain themselves. With reference to rabbinic culture and contemporary Jewish ethnography, the authors evoke the cultural strategies of Jewish diasporaof regeneration through statelessnessthat should prove increasingly relevant to the dilemmas and possibilities of the new diasporas born in the midst and in the aftermath of the modern world-system. Their work exposes the various methods by which peoples in diaspora legislate distinctive ways of life and establish formal communal structures, thus creating fluid yet effective boundaries between themselves and the others who surround them, and critiques the internal power dynamics that can sometimes result. Powers of Diaspora strongly reasserts the place of Jewish culture in contemporary discussions of diaspora, where the cultural politics of postcolonialism have remarginalized Jewish experience; at the same time, it brings insights from studies of other diasporas to bear on the study of Jews. In challenging the equation of diaspora with powerlessness, the book questions the modern nation-state ideal and suggests that diasporic cultural formations offer important clues toward an alternative means of relating culture to polity.

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