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Diasporans dialektik: Om konsten att vara judisk i den svenska moderniteten

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The dialectics of Diaspora On the art of being Jewish in Swedish modernity


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Judarna i Sverige utgör en etnisk och kulturell minoritet som har bevarat och utvecklat ett särskilt »judiskt« förhållningssätt till tillvaron. I denna artikel perspektiveras vad »ett judiskt förhållingssätt« bygger på och innebär. Utifrån det frågas hur den specifika judiska tanketraditionen, dess uppfattning av begreppen religion och folktillhörighet, och i synnerhet predikamentet att leva som minoritet i diasporan samverkat till att den judiska gruppen i dag på en och samma gång kan vara en distinkt nationell minoritet i Sverige och väl integrerade i det moderna samhället.

Translated Abstract

The Jews have been relatively successful in keeping and developing their specific cultural traditions. At the same time they have also been quite successfully integrated in modern Swedish society. What factors in the legacy of the Jewish people have been
decisive for this? What is the significance of the fact the Jewish people during two millennia have lived in a Diaspora? More specifically: does the predicament of living as a minority in the Diaspora generate specific attitudes and behavioral styles in relation to power holders in society and to social power generally? The article proceeds in seven sections:
(1) Religion and Peoplehood: Jews in Sweden primarily perceive the Jewish group as »part of the Jewish people«. Only a tiny minority of the Jews in Sweden today perceive the Jewish group »primarily as religious group«. (2) Conditions for »a Jewish way of relating to life«: Implications of living as a Diaspora people and of a »Talmudic attitude«, even if secular, are seen as contributing to »a Jewish way of relating
to life«. (3) The contemporary Jewish scene in Sweden: It is concluded that the Jews in Sweden constitute an actual civil society.
(4) From »Mosaic majority-embracing to Jewish minority consciousness«: Implications of being a minority in a pre-emancipatoric epoch are compared to being so in the present post-emancipatoric era. (5) Excursion: assimilation or integration? The concept of integration is elaborated. Many contemporary immigrants in Sweden and Denmark are neither assimilated nor integrated into society. In contrast to that, it is
found that one of the keys to the relatively successful integration of Jews has been their »double integration« into, on the one
hand, their Jewish heritage and culture and, on the other hand, into Swedish society. (6) Jews and non-Jews: Data from a
national survey of members of the Jewish communities in Sweden indicate that they have an open attitude towards their nonJewish
environment. On the whole they do not perceive themselves as fundamentally different from the majority of non-Jewish
Swedes. Still one quarter of the Jews report that they personally have experienced antiSemitism in Sweden during the last few
years. (7) The dialectics of Diaspora: The Diaspora-Jewish attitude of relating to social power is traced back to the Jews’ historic
experiences and texts. Mobility, alliances and the allowance for a high degree of flexibility with respect to one’s tradition
are found to be mechanisms that provide for »the art of being Jewish« in the Diaspora – which is also what is more required than
before by all citizens in modern societies.



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Link to article including link to pdf, Diasporans dialektik: Om konsten att vara judisk i den svenska moderniteten

Bibliographic Information

Dencik, Lars Diasporans dialektik: Om konsten att vara judisk i den svenska moderniteten. Socialvetenskaplig Tidskrift. 2009: 320-349.  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-swe14