The sexual body of the young Jew as an arena of ideological struggle, 1821-1948

Malka Ajzenstadt, Gabriel Cavaglion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyzes professional discourse on masturbation to illustrate how child sexuality serves as a site for symbolic ideological struggles. Sex instruction manuals written in central Europe ithe nineteenth century Palestine and Israel in the twentieth century are the basis for broader discussions on religious and scientific discourse on child and adolescent sexuality within the Jewish communities. By tracing the development of new forms of expert knowledge, we show how expert discourse on masturbation gradually transformed it from a symbolic moral evil into a medical disease and a psychological problem, before declaring it a legitimized behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-116
Number of pages24
JournalSymbolic Interaction
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

RAMBI publications

  • Body image
  • Jews -- Identity
  • Jews -- Education -- History
  • Zionism -- Study and teaching
  • Education -- Eretz Israel


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