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Mizrahi Women Resist

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Abstract Utilizing qualitative semi-structured interviews, this paper examines the resistant strategies and struggles of eight severely abused and deprived Mizrahi women who had been incarcerated for crimes and misdemeanors. A Foucauldian perspective reveals that for these women, crime, drugs, and prostitution were expressions of resistance against extreme states of domination and abuse. Through crime and deviance, these women struggled against socioeconomic deprivation, physical, and sexual abuse and other forms of domination and injustice perpetrated by the family and criminal justice system. In crime, drugs, and prostitution, these women managed to express their will and autonomy. These women’s testimonies may shock and scandalize—yet they break through oppressive norms and traditions that had, so far, been taken for granted. I conclude that poor Mizrahi women’s deviant behaviors must be regarded as avant-garde protests pointing to forward social and normative reforms that are to be incorporated into any model of change addressing the plight of marginalized women.

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Affiliations: 1: Western Galilee College of Bar-Ilan University


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