Identity issues and local governance: Women's everyday life in the city

Tovi Fenster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This paper universalizes a particular dilemma. It presents a localized case of the appropriation and 'privatization' of urban public spaces in ultra orthodox communities in the Mea Shearim neighbourhood of Jerusalem in the name of religious identity. The basic dilemma that this paper ponders relates to the localized case presented: whether such a situation, which denies secular women's rights to some public parts of the city, can also be accepted as an expression of the daily religious practices of a distinct community. The first reaction of feminists to such exclusionary practices in the city might be negative, but discussing such issues in depth reveals the different meanings and implications of such situations that force one to deal with the sometimes contradictory meanings of the right to the city, and the contrasts inherent between these meanings. These dilemmas become more and more apparent in multi-ethnicized, multi-sacredized and multi-nationalized global urban spaces and will be part of the city governance's daily occupation, as diversity becomes an increasingly important issue in new global spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-36
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


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