Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Search results for: political deviance

2 Mordechai Vanunu: “The Atomic Spy” as a Nuclear Threat to Discourse in Israeli Society

Authors: Ada Yurman

Abstract:

Using the case of Israeli Atomic Spy Mordechai Vanunu as an example, this study sought to examine social response to political deviance whereby social response can be mobilized in order to achieve social control. Mordechai Vanunu, a junior technician in the Dimona Atomic Research Center, played a normative role in the militaristic discourse while working in the “holy shrine” of the Israeli defense system for many years. At a certain stage, however, Vanunu decided to detach himself from this collective and launched an assault on this top-secret circle. Israeli society in general and the security establishment in particular found this attack intolerable and unforgivable. They presented Vanunu as a ticking time bomb, delegitimized him and portrayed him as “other”. In addition, Israeli enforcement authorities imposed myriad prohibitions and sanctions on Vanunu even after his release from prison – “as will be done to he who desecrates holiness.” Social response to Vanunu at the time of his capture and trial was studied by conducting a content analysis of six contemporary daily newspapers. The analysis focused on use of language and forms of expression. In contrast with traditional content analysis methodology, this study did not just look at frequency of expressions of ideas and terms in the text and covert content; rather, the text was analyzed as a structural whole, and included examination of style, tone and unusual use of imagery, and more, in order to uncover hidden messages within the text. The social response to this case was extraordinarily intense, not only because in this case of political deviance, involving espionage and treason, Vanunu’s actions comprised a real potential threat to the country, but also because of the threat his behavior posed to the symbolic universe of society. Therefore, the response to this instance of political deviance can be seen as being part of a mechanism of social control aiming to protect world view of society as a whole, as well as to punish the criminal.

Keywords: Militarism, political deviance, social construction, social control.

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1 The Social Reaction to the Wadi Salib Riots (1959) as Reflected in Contemporary Israeli Press

Authors: Ada Yurman

Abstract:

Social reactions to deviant groups with political goals follow two central patterns; one that associates personal characteristics with deviant behavior, and the other that claims that society is to be blamed for deviant behavior. The establishment usually tends towards the former notion and thus disclaims any responsibility for the distress of the underprivileged, while it is usually those who oppose government policies who believe that the fault lies with society. The purpose of the present research was to examine social reactions to the Wadi Salib riots that occurred in Haifa in 1959. These riots represented the first ethnic protest within Israeli society with its ideology of the ingathering of the exiles. The central question was whether this ideology contributed to the development of a different reaction when compared to reactions to similar events abroad. This question was examined by means of analyzing articles in the Israeli press of that period. The Israeli press representing the views of the establishment was at pains to point out that the rioters were criminals, their object being to obstruct the development of society. Opposition party leaders claimed that the rioters lived in poor circumstances, which constituted a direct result of government policies. An analysis of press reports on the Wadi Salib riots indicates a correspondence between the reaction to these events and similar events abroad. Nevertheless, the reaction to the Wadi Salib riots did not only express a conflict between different political camps, but also different symbolic universes. Each group exploited the events at Wadi Salib to prove that their ideology was the legitimate one.

Keywords: Riots, media, political deviance, symbolic universe.

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