Perceptions of the 'Proper Family' in Palestinian-Arab Society in Israel as Reflected in Family Members' Drawings

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Palestinian-Arab family, family members, doing family, visual content-analysis


Family lives in Palestinian-Arab society in Israel have undergone considerable changes in recent decades. These changes have made it difficult to understand what is meant by family in everyday life. The aim of the present study is to examine the differences in the perception of the family and the image of “a proper family” through drawings created by Palestinian-Arab women and men in Israel (n=106). This can be analyzed as a prism of discussion regarding how people identify what is expected of families. It also raises the question of “family boundaries” in contemporary Palestinian-Arab society in Israel and what is recognized as family relationships. The drawings’ analysis included a set of questions regarding both the content—the theme of the drawing, main situations, characters, and symbols—and the forms, composition, and colors used. Reading the drawings visually illuminated various perceptions of a family as expressed by the participants. This visual content analysis enhances sociological comprehension about the desirable family life in light of gender relationships, family size, and domestic everyday practices which negotiate the global and the local.


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Author Biographies

Tal Meler, Zefat Academic College

Tal Meler (Ph.D.) – Senior lecturer in sociology and gender studies on research track at Zefat Academic College. My areas of specialization include: sociology of the family; Palestinian family and Palestinian women in Israel; economic violence in Palestinian families and urbanization within Palestinian society in Israel. My recent work on these topics have been published in Sociological Review, Journal of Middle East Women StudiesMarriage & Family Review, Advances in Life Course Research.

Shahar Marnin-Distelfeld, Zefat Academic College

Shahar Marnin-Distelfeld is a faculty member at the department of art, literature and music in Zefat Academic College, Israel. She is the curator of the art gallery at Oranim College of Education and teaches there some art theory classes. Her studies focus on Israeli art and gender, contemporary Jewish and Arab painters in Israel, Holocaust-related art and sociology of art.


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How to Cite

Meler, T., & Marnin-Distelfeld, S. . (2023). Perceptions of the ’Proper Family’ in Palestinian-Arab Society in Israel as Reflected in Family Members’ Drawings. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 10(1), 1–21.



Original Manuscript
Received 2022-09-25
Accepted 2022-12-06
Published 2023-01-26