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Religion And Deviance: Theocrats Vs. Democrats

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on public constructions of various forms of deviant behavior, viewed as such by researchers of deviance and criminologists, within a specific religious community, and tries to understand their meanings and implications. The specific community on which the author focuses is the ultra-orthodox - Haredim in Hebrew - in Israel. On the one hand, "democracy" denotes a political structure associated with options, freedom to make informed choices among competing alternatives, and increasingly so with universalistic human rights. On the other hand, one of the central cultural building blocks of Judaism is religion, which - almost by definition - is non-democratic. This structural tension forms the central contextual background of this chapter. The structural and conceptual tension that the concept of a "Jewish Democracy" yields has given rise to an Israeli kulturkamph whose expression can be found in the printed press.

Keywords: criminologists; deviance; human rights; Israel; Judaism



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