Sociology in the garden: Beyond the liberal grammar of contemporary sociology

Nissim Mizrachi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article poses a simple question: why do marginalized Mizrahim, a group most likely to benefit from liberal justice and human rights, so vehemently and repeatedly reject the liberal message? To address this question, we shift the direction of inquiry from problems in the message's transmission or reception to the message itself. By doing so, we seek to go beyond the 'liberal grammar' shared by most social activists and critical sociologists. The insight emerging from this theoretical turn is that the politics of universalism, rooted in the liberal grammar of human rights and viewed from the liberal standpoint as a key to social emancipation, is experienced by the target population as a heartless betrayal and a grave identity threat. This article offers the initial outline for a new interpretive space and seeks to surpass both the limits of the Israeli case and those of the liberal grammar of contemporary critical sociology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-65
Number of pages30
JournalIsrael Studies Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Critical sociology
  • Dignity
  • Honor
  • Human rights
  • Identity
  • Liberalism
  • Particularism
  • Universalism


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