Review Essay: Living and Loving Jews in the German Present: Jewish Life Beyond the Past, and Beyond Antisemitism

  • Dani Kranz Ben Gurion University
Keywords: love, intimacy, couple relationships, emotions, Jews, Germany, biographical research, ethnography, reflexivity

Abstract

Most academic research on Jews in Germany addresses the past, culture, and religion. If the present is discussed, researchers mainly focus on antisemitism. Ina SCHAUM breaks this pattern. Her research needs to be located in a transdisciplinary framework. In her work, she introduces individual lives, and expressions of agency, indicating the divide between the diversity of Jews, and their experiences, and how they are perceived by non-Jews. Boldly, she uses case studies to depict what "doing being Jewish" means for young Jews in connection to their intimate love relationships. The outcome is refreshing; it does full justice to Jewish life-worlds in Germany. By way of presenting two young Jews in Germany in depth, SCHAUM lifts the lid on the underlying diversity of Germany's Jewish population. She contrasts constructions of Jews with real living Jews, revealing that Jewishness is but one aspect in their quest for love, and that the researcher of the bespoke Jew is indeed also an implicated subject. SCHAUM's work needs to be appreciated as a harbinger in the country where she is based. Informed by English-language anthropology and sociology, she pushes methodological boundaries, consistently questioning the line between researcher and researched from late 1960s onwards. Jews are her case study; yet her theoretical considerations and methodological reflections extend much further.

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Author Biography

Dani Kranz, Ben Gurion University

Dani KRANZ is a DAAD exchange professor, working as an academic anthropologist at Ben Gurion University, Israel, and as an applied academic and director of Two Foxes Consulting, Germany and Israel. Trained in anthropology, social psychology and history, her thematic expertise covers migration, integration, ethnicity, law, state/stateliness, political life, organisations as well as memory politics. She has been conducting long-term fieldwork in Europe and the Middle East. in her current academic project, she focusses on the genesis of moral economies in Germany. In her applied line of work, she is a consultant to the High Commissioner of the German government for Jewish life and in the fight against antisemitism, a member of the Council for Migration (Rat für Migration), and consults with and a range of other foundations, museums, and NGOs.

Published
2020-12-15
Section
FQS Reviews