Contemporary Antisemitism in Three Dimensions:A New Framework for Analysis

What characterizes the global development of antisemitism in the 21st century, and why does it affect some countries more than others? Current frameworks are unable to provide comprehensive answers to this important question. Existing studies tend to operationalize antisemitism too narrowly, using a single indicator of the phenomenon.  Moreover, their scope tends to be restricted to a specific national or ideological context. The resulting nearsightedness fails to capture the conceptual breadth of antisemitism and precludes discovery of cross-national patterns and trends over time, which in turn hinders development of testable hypotheses about why antisemitism varies across space and time. To advance the study of antisemitism empirically and theoretically, this article proposes a new analytical framework composed of three key indicators: antisemitic attitudes, incidents targeting Jews, and Jews’ exposure to antisemitism. Reviewing extant data on these indicators, the article finds that: (1) attitudes vary considerably by geographic and cultural region as well as among population sub-groups; (2) current incident data do not enable cross-national comparison, but global incident levels have fluctuated on a relatively high level after 2000; and (3) Jews’ exposure to antisemitism appears relatively high and stable over the past decade, with some notable temporal and spatial variation, and is not tied to levels of antisemitic attitudes in the way one might expect. Employing the three-dimensional framework enables the formation of a more accurate and nuanced picture of how antisemitism is developing, and helps identify unresolved questions and hypotheses to guide future research. A similar three-dimensional framework could be fruitfully applied in the study of other forms of racism and prejudice.

Enstad, J. D. (2021). Contemporary Antisemitism in Three Dimensions: A New Framework for Analysis. SocArXiv papers, 10.31235/ 

Published June 1, 2021 1:03 PM - Last modified June 1, 2021 1:11 PM