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The Positive Side of Stereotypes: Jewish Anarchists in Early-Twentieth-Century Buenos Aires

Jose C. Moya
Jewish History
Vol. 18, No. 1, Gender, Ethnicity, and Politics: Latin American Jewry Revisited (2004), pp. 19-48
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20100922
Page Count: 30
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The Positive Side of Stereotypes: Jewish Anarchists in Early-Twentieth-Century Buenos Aires
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Abstract

During the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, anarchism represented the most important faction of the radical left in the Atlantic world. This movement attracted a disproportionately high number of Jews. During the same period Buenos Aires became both an important magnet for Jewish immigration and one of the main centers of anarchist activism in the world. This article shows how the Jewish presence in the anarchist movement of the city became, in an amazingly short time and almost ex nihilo, so visible that it turned into a stereotype. The article then attempts to provide an explanation for this phenomenon that relies on a sociological and comparative perspective and questions notions of Jewish exceptionalism and arguments based on the eschatology and ethics of Judaism. Finally, it explores how stereotypes that function at one level as signifiers of alterity and mechanisms of exclusion, can, at another social level, promote acceptance and check anti-Semitism.

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