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Ethnic Inequality in Israeli Schools and Sports: An Expectation-States Approach

Ephraim Yuchtman-Yaar and Moshe Semyonov
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 85, No. 3 (Nov., 1979), pp. 576-590
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2778584
Page Count: 15
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Ethnic Inequality in Israeli Schools and Sports: An Expectation-States Approach
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Abstract

Ethnic inequality in educational achievement between students of European-American ("Ashkenazi") and Asian-African ("Oriental") origin in Israel has been generally attributed to the lower SES and cultural disadvantage of Oriental Jews. More recent research indicates that Israeli teachers tend to generalize the characteristics of ethnic origin so that Orientals are considered less capable intellectually and motivationally to such an extent that their handicaps are irreversible. Using the framework of expectation-states theory, this study proposes that these prevailing tendencies are an inevitable consequence of the functioning of ethnicity as a diffuse status. This interpretation suggest that ethnic prejudice in Israel is a relatively general phenomenon, not limited to the schooling process. The proposition is examined in the context of achievement in professional soccer, where intellectual prerequisites are less demanding. The findings support the proposition, showing similar patterns of ethnic inequality in terms of both actual achievement and the operation of status generalization. The Israeli case suggests that an egalitarian ideology and policies of ethnic integration cannot effectively prevent emerging inequalities so long as ethnicity functions as a diffuse status.

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