Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 107–123 | Cite as

Reflections on My Jewish Habitus and Perspectives

  • Harriet HartmanEmail author


This essay discusses the intersection of personal and professional influences on the author’s work and perspectives in Jewish studies. In particular the role of “bonding” and “bridging” capital is discussed: bonding with other Jews, bonding with research colleagues of similar orientations; and bridging with Jews different from myself, Jews in different cultural/societal contexts, between Jews and non-Jews, and between scholars of different orientations. The role of mentors as facilitating and non-facilitating gatekeepers is also discussed. The reflective exercise is recommended as a re-centering device for all scholars. Suggestions for investing in further research in Jewish studies follow the expansion of both bonding and bridging research capital opportunities, such as establishing a think-tank facilitating ongoing dialogue between qualitative and quantitative researchers, and researchers using different units of analysis, in Jewish studies; developing a common core of community study questions and subsidizing their inclusion in community studies; establishing an international question bank to increase comparability and standardization in upcoming surveys; expanding the North American Jewish Data Bank to be global; and reaching out for comparability beyond the community of Jewish studies research. The suitability of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry as an infrastructure for some of the networking endeavors suggested is considered.


Habitus Narrative Research Bonding and bridging research capital Quantitative research Qualitative research Jewish studies Israel 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyRowan UniversityGlassboroUSA

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