Writing the Palestinian Christians in Israel
Karl Mannheim’s critical work on the sociology of knowledge explores the relationship between society, ideology and power in the production of social values, truth systems and political orders. His work also describes the potentially transformative effect of society upon scholarship but, critically also, of scholarship upon society. The insights which he made, while universal, are particularly relevant with regard to Israeli scholarship. In recent decades, the attention given by Israeli sociologists to the social and political contingency of their own research has grown considerably. As a result of this new research focus, two approaches to the study of Israeli society have been identified and distinguished from each other. One has been generally referred to as a dominant or hegemonic ‘establishment’ discourse and the other has been loosely categorised as a ‘critical’ discourse. A number of studies already exist which elaborate on the particular research methodologies and framework decisions which characterise each approach or discourse.1 Instead of reiterating the conclusions made by others, this chapter provides a particular analysis of academic scholarship on Palestinian Christians in Israel cognisant of the fact that such an endeavour may advance understandings not only of Israeli state attitudes towards Palestinian Christians, but of the location of this community within a broader sociology of Israeli scholarship on the Palestinian Arab minority.