Avigail Morris Ph.D
After completing a B.A. in Anthropology in 1979 I decided to move from the U.S. to Israel. One of my first aims was to pursue a second degree in Anthropology and then apply my degrees through research and teaching. Following my M.A. in the area of Play and Culture under the supervision of Professor Don Handelman at the Hebrew University, I moved to Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava. In 1988, with the support of the Jerusalem Center for Anthropological Studies, I created a program for teaching anthropology to children and young adults. For the past 24 years I have taught and continue to teach cultural anthropology on several levels including elementary, high school, undergraduate and graduate. Over the years I have also taught several seminars and workshops on qualitative research methodology with an emphasis on ethnographic fieldwork.
In 1994 I traveled with my husband and three children to the Kingdom of Tonga in Polynesia in order to conduct research for my doctoral thesis entitled, " Playing to a New Rhythm: An Ethnography of Female Games and Sport in the Kingdom of Tonga" under the supervision of Professor Alex Weingrod at Ben Gurion University. In 2011-2012 I returned to Tonga for seven months to update my thesis and to carry out a new study on informal incomes among Tongan women.
Along with teaching I am currently involved in three long term research projects in Israel:
- "Avenues of Economic Participation for Rural Bedouin Women". A study of informal incomes among Bedouin women in four unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev carried out together with Dr. Sarab Abu-Rabia Queder and funded by The Ministry of Science and Technology
- "Ageing n the Arava: Perceptions, Experience and Planning for the Future". funded by the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center
- "Valuing Ecosystem Services Through a Multi-National, Multi-Cultural Lens", together with a team sponsored by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies.st recent publications include: "Experiencing Culture: Teaching Anthropology to Young Children" in Practicing Anthropology, Vol. 28, No. 3, 2006, " Nine a Side Basketball in the Kingdom of Tonga: A Case Study in Negotiating Gender Roles" in Play and Culture Studies, Vol. 9 (2009), "Games in Israel", Encyclopedia of Play, Sage Publishers (2009) , "The Transborder Perceptions of Ecosystem Services: A Social Inquiry in the Southern Arava Valley" in Ecology and Environment, Vol. 3, No. 1, February 2012 and "Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Ecosystem Services: A Social Inquiry on Both Sides of the Israeli-Jordanian Border of the Southern Arava Valley Desert" in Journal of Arid Environments (forthcoming)
1. The Process of Ageing in the Arava and the Dead Sea: Perceptions, Experience and Planning for the Future- Anthropology– The research seeks to examine how the early settlers of the Arava who are now reaching late middle age perceives and experiences their own process of ageing, both on a personal level as well as on a communal one, and which factors influence these perceptions. The main objective of this study is to provide insights into the meaning of ageing and old age for those now defined as late middle aged (50-65), and what these meanings indicate about their future well-being as "elderly". In addition, a comparison will be made between these late middle aged members and those members who have already reached retirement age. The purpose of this comparison will be to learn from the experiences of those few in the Arava and Dead Sea Regions who are the first to live through old age in their respective communities and regions, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of existing ageing policies. The knowledge gained will reveal information about what issues concern late middle aged people about ageing and how policy makers on the community, regional and state levels can incorporate these perspectives into their long-term plans for the elderly in the region.
2. Avenues of Economic Participation for Rural Bedouin Women (funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology)- Anthropology– The current study seeks to examine patterns of informal economic participation of rural Bedouin women as a way of changing/challenging gender roles in their villages. We will address the following questions: What female income earning activities are not considered formal paid employment but are practiced in each Bedouin village? What opportunities do rural women create in order to contribute to the family income by means that are acceptable both to themselves and to the male villagers on whom they depend? The study will focus on four un-recognized Bedouin villages in the Negev through analysis of the contextual differences between them, according to age (old vs. young) and family origin(those who are considered as "upper" class families vs. those considered as "lower" class families).
3. Valuing Ecosystem Services Through a Multi-National, Multi-Cultural Lens (funded by MERC) Anthropology– The goal of this project is to use ES assessment as a platform to integrate local stakeholders into land use policy making. Our objectives are: 1) To research whether people’s perceptions of ecosystem service provision mirror actual conditions in the field. This will be done by establishing and comparing three ES assessments – a social assessment based on interviewing, surveying and observing local communities, an economic assessment based on direct and in-direct estimates of monetary value, and an ecological assessment based on expert knowledge, data collection and geographic mapping; 2) To create a dynamic, interactive platform for trans-border assessments of ecological integrity and ES provision. The platform will consist of periodic stakeholder meetings, where participants share concerns and priorities for management of ES and discuss policy and management strategies with decision makers and the MERC research team.
- 1993 – Borkan J., Shvartzman, P. and Morris, A. “Stories from the Sealed Rooms: Patient Interviews During the Gulf War” in Family Practice June, Vol. 10, no. 2.,
- 1995 – Morris, Avigail, “Changing Patterns of Female Games in Tonga” in La Femme: Entre Tradition et Modernite dans le Pacifique Sud, L’Harmattan Universite Francaise Du Pacifique (The Female: Between Tradition and Modernity in the South Pacific).
- 2006 – Morris, Avigail, "Experiencing Culture: Teaching Anthropology to Young Children" in Practicing Anthropology Vol. 28, No. 3, Summer edition.
- 2009 – Morris, Avigail, " Nine a Side Basketball in the Kingdom of Tonga: A Case Study in Negotiating Gender Roles" in the Play and Culture Studies, Vol. 9.
- 2009 – Morris, Avigail, "Games in Israel", Encyclopedia of Play, Sage Publishers.
- 2013 (forthcoming), "Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Ecosystem Services: A Social Inquiry on Both Sides of the Israeli-Jordanian Border of the Southern Arava Valley Desert", in Journal of Arid Environments, Hila Sagie, Yodan Rofe, Avigail Morris, Daniel E. Orenstein, Elli Groner.