In this article, ethnofiction is discussed as a scholar-activist methodology that offers advantages for interior protest within community borders. The case study centers on the affair of the abducted Yemenite-Jewish children in Israel. Ethnographic studies and the researcher’s experience with members of the community serve as sources for a dramatic dialogue that reflects the definition of, and coping with, a problem as the topic of protest in the affair. The connection between the case study and its sources of information is stressed and the ethnodrama is instantiated as a transformative methodology. The findings on the acceptance of this ethnofiction in the community show that the transformative methodology allowed the researcher to send a clear and empathetic message of protest to social activists in the affair and did not endanger the researcher-activist as an agent of change. Ethnofiction accommodates the unconventionality of scholar-activism by reflecting the challenge of an interior protest among social activists in a community of victims of a collective trauma, expressed by an encounter with the supernatural. The discussion centers on the efficacy of ethnofiction as a dramatic strategy and the advantages of subverting the “aesthetics of objectivity” in matters of victims’ representation and agency.


ethnodrama, ethnofiction, methodological activism, interior protest, Yemenite children affair, aesthetics of objectivity

Author Bio(s)

Tova Gamliel is professor of anthropology at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Her academic identity is that of existential and psychological anthropology. She is the author of Old Age with a Gleam in the Eyes (2000, Hebrew), End of Story: Meaning, Identity, Old Age (2005, Hebrew), Aesthetics of Sorrow: The Wailing Culture of Yemenite Jewish Women (2014), Zahara's Diaries: A Feminine Invitation to Anthropology (2014, Hebrew), and The Theatrical Spectaculum: An Anthropological Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Please direct correspondence to tova.gamliel@biu.ac.il.

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