Chapter 6 presents a genealogy of reformatory education and public hygiene, focusing on how ‘health’ has come to traverse medical and moral conceptions of childhood, and how the figure of the healthy child – once configured as a ‘national asset’ – has since become a form of ‘capital investment’. Tracking this through the datafication of childhood, the core concern is how neoliberal enterprise culture has become a Procrustean bed, with biosocial power doing the work of fashioning life by empowering and supporting children in accordance with prescribed ‘outcomes’. The chapter concludes by taking up a critical perspective on the issue of obesity, examining the battle against childhood obesity as one of the ways in which neoliberal enterprise culture is immunised.
The conclusion returns to the generational question. It argues that for hiloni millennials as a religio-class, neo-Romantic conceptions of self and nation have come to play a much greater role within hiloni habitus. This is a process which began in the 1980s but has intensified during their critical years coming of age in the post-Oslo national atmosphere. What it is to be reasonable is shaped significantly by hiloni millennial neo-Romanticism. The conclusion connects the personal level to high politics. It carefully analyses the intersection between Israeli government discourse about what is a reasonable response to Hamas and what is happening at the level of the self. It argues that these intersections facilitate acceptance of the Occupation’s status quo among hiloni millennials – even among those who reject Occupation.
Chapter 7 examines how ‘disadvantage’ has become a pervasive way of framing inequality, tracking this from the United States during the 1960s, where the theme of cultural deprivation gave rise to a series of experiments in compensatory education, through to the present, showing how the neuroliberal figuring of disadvantage sustains neoliberal enterprise culture. To this end the chapter explores how neuroliberalism is imbricated in philanthrocapitalism and the ‘first three years’ movement, the core message being that ‘the first three years last forever’, and that as a society we either ‘pay now or pay later’. In this scenario, biosocial power aims to reduce the future costs of crime, welfare dependency and teenage pregnancy by optimising the ‘brain architecture’ of children.
Chapter 5 moves beyond the genealogical questioning of how we have come to be what we are. The question that follows is: ‘what are we in the process of becoming?’ In opening out this question, the chapter examines how biosocial power operates in the guise of empowerment, specifically in the form of children’s citizenship. Approaching citizenship (from Nikolas Rose) as a moral technology of discipline, the chapter focuses on how children’s citizenship has been configured in Ireland, where children have recently been incorporated into the policy process, initially as ‘active participants’, and subsequently as ‘active citizens in their own right’. The chapter uses the case study as a critical vantage point on the idea of the ‘Whole Child’ and the figure of the ‘resilient’ child, and concludes by presenting children’s citizenship as a form of biosocial empowerment that, on closer inspection, proves to be a mode of subjectivation.
This chapter sets out historical events since hiloni millennials have come of age in the 2000s and 2010s, framed by Karl Mannheim’s critical years hypothesis. It traces continuities and subtle differences in what it feels like to be hiloni between Generation X and millennials. These are not visible at the level of public debate or religious practice but feature within self narratives. These subtle differences intersect with and feed a broader conservative shift in attitudes towards Occupation among Jewish-Israelis generally, including hiloni millennials. It introduces the main argument about hiloni millennial neo-Romanticism and how Pierre Bourdieu’s social theory is used in the book.
Chapter 2 explores how childhood has become a means of projecting the present into the future and of making such imagined futures practical and technical. Drawing from Agamben’s analysis of the modern ‘anthropological machine’, the chapter presents childhood as a threshold spanning animal/human, nature/culture and voice/language, tracking this through a textual analysis of Rousseau, J. S. Mill, G. Stanley Hall, James Sully and Phillip Pettit. This in turn serves as the historical backdrop used in subsequent chapters, specifically in terms of examining how biosocial power is deployed in the form of playgrounds, children’s citizenship and children’s health initiatives, as a way of preventing or ameliorating disadvantage, and as entrepreneurship education.
In recent years, questions of space and the Jewish homeland have been at the forefront of public debate in Israel, catalysed by increased settlement building, Jewish and Palestinian activism at the Holy Esplanade in Jerusalem and Palestinian spatial resistance to Occupation. Using Tovi Fenster’s tripartite conception of spatial comfort, belonging and commitment to analyse attitudes towards the Temple Mount, this chapter analyses hiloni hierarchies of what counts as home – including Tel Aviv as a hiloni-majority city. I argue that young hiloni conceptions of themselves as reasonable fulcrum citizens have been forged in important ways through their assessment of what parts of the Jewish homeland are really home.
This chapter looks at how young hilonim have imagined global jihad and Islamic fanaticism as conceptual categories. It juxtaposes this with their far more nuanced understanding of Palestinian nationalism, political Islamism and anti-Semitism within the lands of Israel and Palestine. The chapter presents evidence that young hiloni attitudes towards Hamas are shaped far more by their personal, intimate experience with violence than by stereotypes about Islam. Hamas and Hezbollah are, in their view, rational but not reasonable actors. Theoretically, this chapter critiques as too simplistic William Cavanaugh’s account of the liberal, secular myths of religious violence.
This chapter introduces the main argument and contribution to the comparative academic literature on political violence, religion and ethnic nationalism. It also sets out two research questions and how these intersect throughout the book: First, as a young ‘secular’ Jew, what does it feel like coming of age during a phase of national conflict when Palestinian and Israeli government leaders, not just fringe figures, use religio-ethnic symbols to motivate and divide? Second, what do violent political conflicts look and feel like to people who claim to distance themselves from the majority religious tradition in their given context – and yet are fundamentally embedded within it? It sets out the logic of using Israel as a non-secular ‘hard case’ to explore this.
Chapter 1 locates the book within the interdisciplinary field of childhood studies. It provides an initial outline of biosocial power and opens out the question of how childhood has been, and continues to be, figured in the form of normative fictions. Biosocial power is presented as a specific zone of intensity within the more encompassing arena of biopower and biopolitics, which operates at the threshold of zoē (bare life) and bios (properly political life). Normative fictions are figurations of power/knowledge that enclose ways of seeing, thinking and doing while foreclosing upon or subduing other possible worlds. The chapter brings these core concepts together through the use of examples from film and philosophy, and it concludes with a short overview of the book as a whole.