Dilemmas of Attachment
Identity and Belonging among Palestinian Christians
New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in Israel StudiesNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network June 18, 2016 Mark Calder
Bard Kartveit‘s Dilemmas of Attachment: Identity and Belonging among Palestinian Christians (Brill, 2014) is an outstanding book, which carefully describes the constraints faced by Palestinian Christians, particularly in the unique context of the Bethlehem area, painting a nuanced picture of the ways in which such realities are experienced and narrated in relation to questions of identity. The account is historically grounded and ethnographically rich, giving the reader a sense of the sometimes painful physical and symbolic changes in Bethlehem Christians’ environment. Tradition, modernity, kinship, patriarchy, sectarianism, nationalism, state power, migration and the decisive role of the Israeli Occupation are all given their due. The concepts of groupness and framing provide a theoretical architecture which supports Kartveit’s representation, thereby capturing the dynamism of self-narrative processes, and guaranteeing against the easy generalizations which sometimes characterize accounts of Palestinian Christians.
Mark Calder is an honorary research fellow in Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He conducted his PhD fieldwork in Bethlehem focusing on Syriac Orthodox Christians.