Nationen och hans hustru : Feminism och nationalism i Israel med fokus på Miriam Kainys dramatik

Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is to elucidate the tension between feminism and nationalism in Israel and to investigate the ways by which such discursive currents mark the identities of Israeli women. The specific field of investigation is Israeli theatre, and the identities examined are dramatic characters created by the Israeli playwright Miriam Kainy. Also examined is the character of the playwright herself. Theatre is being observed as a specific field of society in which the position of women can be clarified. What kind of women characters the Israeli theatre produces is therefore a leading question for this study.Feminist theories, focusing on gender aspects of power relations, together with the postcolonial perspective, which considers power relations by focusing on ethnicity and geopolitical aspects, provide the theoretical tools. The social constructionist viewpoint is used since it provides an appropriate understanding of important notions for the thesis, such as nation and identity, considering them as constructions created by discourse. The discourses focused upon are the national v. the feminist discourse and theatre is viewed as a discourse mediator, which is why the dramatic text is the object of the analysis. The specific method of analysis is inspired by Norman Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis.The main part of the thesis consists of a discursive analysis of five women characters, constructed within a period of about five decades, namely between the 1950s and 1990s. Each one of these characters consists of an articulation which is considered representative of a specific time-relevant discursive struggle between the two discourses in question. One of the central assumptions of the thesis is that the Israeli national identity is thoroughly masculine. The identity problems it has been causing Israeli women since the time of the pioneers until today are clearly illuminated throughout the analysis. The conclusion emphasises that the subjectpositions being introduced by Israeli national discourse, namely the ways of being a New Jew, an Israeli, collide with those introduced by feminist discourse, i.e. ways of being an independent woman subject. Nevertheless, each and every character demonstrates creative ways of transforming the discourses by aiming at a hybrid formation.