Reading Maslow in the land of (magical) realism: the hierarchy of human needs in Israel’s politics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This article resolves an intriguing puzzle: the safer Israel has become, the more
anxious Israelis have turned. Israel has never been more prosperous or powerful
than it is today, yet Israelis have increasingly opted for fearmongering politi-
cians, urging conservative, religious and nationalist policies. Why? I argue that
the answer lies in Israel’s ‘magical realism’, meshing the imperative of survival
and safety with the spell of belonging, recognition and legitimation. I trace this
amalgam back to Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, which realism should
have employed but has not. I thus address the Israeli puzzle by piecing together
three accounts: the existence of real dangers, the social construction of existential
threats and the search for belonging and esteem. I conclude by complementing
basic needs with greed and creeds. Overall, realism and Maslow have much to
teach each other, and us, about real-world problems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Edinburgh Companion to Political Realism
EditorsRobert Schuett, Miles Hollingworth
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781474423304, 9781474423298
ISBN (Print)9781474423281
StatePublished - 2018


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