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Title: British Jewish youth movements and identity, 1945-1960
Author: Plant, Thomas M.
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis analyses British Jewish identity between 1945 and 1960 through the medium of Jewish youth movements. It argues that youth movements are key sites for the formation and transmission of communal identities into subsequent generations. It entails institutional studies of three Jewish youth organisations: the Jewish Lads’ Brigade, the Victoria Boys’ and Girls’ Club, and the Maccabi Union and is divided accordingly, with chapters devoted to each. The thesis examines the preferred identities that each club sought to impose on their members, using these identities as case studies for the wider British Jewish community. Each chapter addresses issues of national identity, gender, sexuality, faith, ethnicity, Jewish heritage and culture, Zionism, popular music and youth behaviour in order to construct an image of the manner in which various sections of British Jewry perceived their sense of identity. The results of the thesis demonstrate that British Jewish identity was fragmented and heterogeneous, with various sections of the community interpreting the over-arching communal identity in a number of different and at times contested ways. These interpretations were liminal in nature, existing at the boundaries of a variety of sub-identities, and drew on themes that were specific to both British Jews and to wider non-Jewish society, demonstrating that British Jews saw no distinction between the ‘British’ and ‘Jewish’ aspects of their identities. Such interpretations were highly dynamic and continued to evolve in the face of developing circumstances, both within and outside of British Jewry. In exploring the differing communal identities on offer within British Jewry, the thesis also charts the emergence and priorities of a new communal elite and suggests that it is more precise to speak of multiple British Jewish identities and communities than of a single communal bloc.
Supervisor: Kushner, Antony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D839 Post-war History ; 1945 on ; DAW Central Europe