The Darkness at the End of the Tunnel

By: Julia Resnik  

In her classic essay "Arendt Children," Jacqueline Bhabha argues that the problem with children without status is not blindness of the authorities and institutions that deal with them, but their ambivalence. Following Bhabha, we will present ways in which the ambivalence between the universality of compassion (a child is a child) and the particularity of control over them as immigrants is expressed in institutional attitudes towards children with liminal legal status in Israel. Legal liminality is a form of governance that produces systematic uncertainty. Alongside governance through uncertainty, an interpretative space has been opened by actors who are in contact with the children and forms of partial integration and contradictions have been developed. We present preliminary findings of a large-scale study based on interviews with officials and schools principals and examine two patterns of segregative integration of children and young people in the fields of welfare and education in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem: 1. Inclusion of children in special welfare categories or in separate frameworks allows allocation of resources on one hand but labelling them as “problematic’ on the other 2. A promise to assimilation to Israeli culture and identity in formal and non-formal education frameworks but without the possibility of realization when approaching the age of 18 and becoming formally illegal and deportable. These forms of integration with an expiration date have implications on migration theory and practices and the understanding of assimilation and citizenship processes in a context of tougher attitudes towards migrants and asylum seekers.

segregative-inclusion legal liminality
Community Diversity and Governance
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Julia Resnik