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The Jew in Britain: assumptions of identity

Steyn, Juliet (1993) The Jew in Britain: assumptions of identity. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86190) (KAR id:86190)


This thesis is concerned with institutions and discourses which together produce the category Jew-as-Other. It examines the identity of the Other by applying cultural theory to the social and political condition of the Jew in Britain at particular moments in the 19th and 20th centuries. It looks at art and culture in the representation and construction of the notion of Jewish identity as Other.

Proceeding through an examination of case studies and events in Britain - including legislation on aliens and a number of art exhibitions which were themselves productive of Otherness - the thesis argues that these events shed light on the limits to, and of: the processes of (Jewish) emancipation; the dialectic of identity and difference; assimilation and dissimulation; cultural differentiation and the articulation of a national culture; affirmation and negation and finally, universalism and particularism - all of which emanate from the Enlightenment project creating yet another dialectic whose synthesis was, for some, the anti-semitism of annihilation.

The thesis necessarily troubles the notion of Jewish identity: Identity, although used as a method of analysis and production and inscribed within historical processes, is a problematic and unstable category which endlessly twists and turns. Jew-as-Other occupies different sites which lie not just outside British culture but inside (as well as outside the inside, and inside the outside), cultural institutions and discourses.

The thesis ends by posing a series of alternatives to the Other as a threat (both Subject and subject) seeking instead languages, modes of thought and an ethic through which the Self and the Other can be understood as surpassing the dialectical configuration of identity and difference.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86190
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: #ethos, Anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BM Judaism
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:33 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 09:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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