Non-Citizen Latinos in Israel: Language and Citizenship

This project considers the relation of language, citizenship and immigration for non-citizen Latinos in Israel. These Latinos come mostly from Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela, and Bolivia, and they are part of the ways of so-called “foreign workers” that started arriving in large numbers in the 1990s. In particular, I’m interested in how language helps create relations between different contexts in the lives of these Latinos: from educating children in domestic situations to speaking with strangers on the street, from participating in youth groups and schools to gossiping among friends, from fearing deportation to demonstrating for citizenship, from the shadowy act of informing for the police to the public act of speaking through the media to ask for citizenship, how Latinos interact at once connects them and excludes them from Israel. The three years of research for this project was initially done for my dissertation, mostly between 2004-2006, but starting in 1998 and ending in 2007. During this time, I did ethnographic and linguistic fieldwork both with Latino families as well as several Israeli organizations, many of which advocated for labor migrants.