Academic journal article Journalism History

"Like Birds Returning to Their Nest": Immigration Narratives and Ideological Constructions in Early Israeli Children's Magazines

Academic journal article Journalism History

"Like Birds Returning to Their Nest": Immigration Narratives and Ideological Constructions in Early Israeli Children's Magazines

Article excerpt

Media outlets rarely percieve and present themselves as formal learning tools. However, their consumption evidently involves learning and knowledge-gaining.' Within this context, Adina Bar-El points at the specific role of children's magazines in this learning process, as they are entrusted with the task of passing on "cultural treasures" as well as social values inhabited hy young media consumers.2 Given the overall social and cultural significance of newspapers3 and the abovementioned unique social and cultural roles of children's media, the scarcity of studies that explore children's magazines becomes evident. This lack calls for an engagement with issues such as the nature of these magazines and the ways in which they represent various social values and social groups.

Therefore, the following article explores the journalistic discourse shaped by children's magazines regarding a key theme in the shaping of national identity and national consciousness in a young state. Specifically, this article probes the ways in which three leading 1950s Israeli children's magazines discussed and presented the phenomenon of mass migration to Israel, as well as the immigrants themselves. Within this context, the article seeks to trace the main narrators and the key narratives that were featured in this coverage. The article comprises three parts: First, we offer a conceptual framework, discussing the concepts and themes that stand at the heart of the study. In the second part, we present key findings that emerged from the narrative analysis, in light of two research trajectories-the narrators of immigration story features published in 1950s Israeli children's magazines, and the main plot structures featured in these magazines' articles. Finally, the study's findings are interpreted within the context of a broader framework, bearing in mind the characteristics of Israeli society of the formative era, and considering the operation of the Israeli press during that period.

Nationalism is a social order constantly shaped by various agents. It is a product of political processes and interests of individuals and groups alike, which renders the nation-state justifiable.4 Two key approaches form the foundation of nationalism studies: the first, primordial/essentialist approach, deems nationalism a traditional, cultural phenomenon, engendered by "authentic" collective identities. The primordial/essentialist school addresses the rise of national identity as an organic process, with the word nation stemming from the Latin nasci, meaning "to be born."5 Proponents of this approach view nationalism as a movement whose power is mostly derived from past symbols and shared ethnicity/'

In contrast, the constructivist approach views nationalism as a political tool used to galvanize the collective identity of mass populations, within given historical contexts. This discourse of nationalism emphasizes the role of cultural texts in forging solidarity between individuals of given nations. The constructivist school stems, among other sources, from Benedict Anderson's seminal work deeming the nation-state as an imagined community, built upon individuals' ability to imagine their membership in the national collective through a common language, common values, and above all, through the wide reach of modern mass media/ In the Israeli context, Oren Meyers's relying on Karl Wolfgang Deutschs work, describes the ways in which the Israeli press operates as "national equipment"-a cultural ritual that constructs and maintains the boundaries of the Jewish-Israeli community, facilitating communication among its members/'

In its attempts to explore the shaping of national identities, the current study focuses on the attributes of one national movementZionism. Despite this movement's physical affinity to the land of Israel and its secular nature, its roots and thought originated from Europe and were anchored in a complex manner within a religious context. …

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