Gender and Culture
Kibbutz Women Revisited
Based on a study of the Israeli kibbutz movement, Gender and Culture discusses the differences in male and female orientations to marriage, the family, and work. Spiro describes the counterrevolution in the kibbutz movement as it evolved over a quarter century period. The kibbutz Spiro first studied, Kiryat Yedidim, was thirty years old at the time, and he returned there twenty-five years later. Spiro initially found that the pioneers of the kibbutz movement, in their attempt to implement their vision of a society based on sexual equality, had created a revolution in the character of marriage, the structure of the family, patterns of child rearing, and the sexual division of labor.
The counterrevolution he found twenty-five years later was no less fascinating: a return to certain important features of the prerevolutionary forms of these social institutions. This return to tradition has been the work primarily of the young women who, born and raised in the kibbutz, had been inculcated with the revolutionary ideology of the kibbutz pioneers. Studying the same community after a twenty-five-year interval enables readers to observe the children of the first study as adults in the follow-up study. This longitudinal dimension provides the most important basis for the interpretations offered in Gender and Culture. A new introduction discusses additional, even more radical changes that have occurred since the book’s original publication in 1979, situating the kibbutz experience in the context of contemporary gender studies and feminist thought. The book will be of continuing importance for sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, and women’s studies scholars.