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Tel Aviv as a space of affirmation versus transformation: Language, citizenship, and the politics of sexuality in Israel

Journal article
Authors Tommaso M. Milani
Erez Levon
Roey Gafter
Iair Or
Published in Linguistic Landscape
Volume 4
Issue 3
Pages 278-297
ISSN 2214-9953
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Swedish
Pages 278-297
Language en
Keywords affirmation, affect, intimate citizenship, body, queer, Israel, transformation
Subject categories Gender Studies, Media and Communications, General Language Studies and Linguistics


In this article we investigate the spatial politics of sexuality in Israel by focusing on two different but related data sets: (1) the official video for Tel Aviv Pride 2013 produced by the Mizrahi Jewish music group Arisa; and (2) a protest against the Occupation of Palestine performed at Tel Aviv Pride in 2017. We analyze these examples with the help of a theoretical framework that offers a dynamic conceptualization of citizenship and its semiotic manifestations, drawing on Fraser’s (1995) distinction between affirmative and transformative strategies of social justice. In line with the remit of this special issue, we highlight the importance of taking sexuality as an entry point for Linguistic Landscape analysis. More specifically, we argue that a focus on sexuality in space opens up a window into the affective, intimate and embodied dimensions of politics.

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