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Jewish Identity: Between Ascription and Choice


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The analysis provided in this paper is based on the sociological research I made on the turn of 1988 and 1989. The study was focused on a typological analysis. The empirical material consisted of several non-structured, narrative-type interviews with individuals selected for the study. My interlocutors were 25 people born as Poles, brought up and still living in Poland, surrounded by Polish culture, and being at the same time of Jewish origins. In the course of these conversations the people I was talking to chose themselves to underline and "uncover" the problems related to their identity. My aim, rather than a mere description of the selected group, was to reconstruct the ways in which the interviewees formed and interpreted their own identities in connection with their "Jewish" and "Polish" identifications. I focused my attention not on the collective identity of the chosen category of individuals but rather on the individual sense of identity of its members. Do these people identify with their Jewishness (and/or Polishness) in similar ways? Do they resemble each other in respect of that particular, specific aspect of their social identity? These are some of the questions I tried to answer in my study.



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Bibliographic Information

Melchior, Małgorata Jewish Identity: Between Ascription and Choice. Polish Sociological Review. 1995: 47-56.  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-pol55