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SCHOLAR

PhD, The Department of Sociology and Anthropology, 

Bar-Ilan University (BIU).

Sari's research focuses on aspects of education, space, social class, and discourse in the formation of self and identity in the iGeneration era. Sari was granted the Presidential Award of Distinction and the Rector Award of Distinction for her PhD studies. At 2021-2022 she was a visiting postgraduate researcher at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent, UK.  Since 2022, Sari is part of CRISP - Critical Sociology and Philosophy of Education, Research group led by Prof. Kristiina Brunila, at the AGORA Centre for the Study of Social Justice and Equality in Education, University of Helsinki.

Sari recently won the BIU Postdoctoral Fellowship Award for postdoctoral research at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA) at Oxford University.

Sari is a highly experienced lecturer for both postgraduates and undergraduates. She lectures on social values in education and teaches various methodological courses, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Sari employs both her research experience with her performing and writing expertise to teach the art of Storytelling of Empirical Knowledge. 

Research interests: Sociology of Self and Identity, Sociology of Space and Culture, Sociology of Education, Youth, and Globalisation. 

Sari Alfi.jpg

"Being a Light unto the Nations in Entrepreneurship": The Ideal of the Zionist High-Tech Professional in Israeli Public Education

In Israel, the "start-up nation", entrepreneurial discourse is broadly used within the national education system. The global entrepreneurial discourse highlights personal autonomy while promoting individualistic and neoliberal values. The manifestation of the entrepreneurial discourse in Israeli public education which echoes ethno-nationalistic and collectivist discourses presents a paradox. This paradox has been magnified in recent years as the Israeli education system promotes unified ethno-nationalistic values. We followed the entrepreneurial discourse in a multi-focal qualitative study among policymakers and in public schools, examining how this paradox is resolved in the context of Israeli education. The study shows how the Zionist high-tech professional is presented within national education as an ideal of a hybrid nationalistic-entrepreneurial self. Through this ideal, the entrepreneurial spirit and the Zionist narrative are weaved together in a way that complements both and makes them accessible. The local entrepreneurial discourse is a unique conjunction in which ethno-nationalistic values are recruited to strengthen the entrepreneurial ethos, while neoliberal values and narratives are used to strengthen an ethno-nationalistic identity. Thus, in the Israeli context, entrepreneurial language challenges the binary distinction between the individual and the collective and reflects the dialectics between neoliberalism and nationalism.

Alfi-Nissan, S., Gabay-Egozi, L., & Pagis, M. (2021). "Being a Light unto the Nations in Entrepreneurship": The Ideal of the Zionist High-Tech Professional in Israeli Public Education. Israeli Sociology, 108-122. (Hebrew)

          אלפי-ניסן, ש., גבאי-אגוזי ל. ופגיס, מ. (2021). 'להיות אור לגויים ביזמות': אידיאל ההייטקיסט הציוני בחינוך הבית-ספרי בישראל.                                      סוציולוגיה ישראלית, 108-122. 

Glitches in the Aspirational Discourse: Between Enterprise and Compromise

In recent years, the sociology of culture has turned its gaze to future aspirations. This gaze is in line with contemporary future-oriented culture, which encourages young people to aspire to fulfill their dreams. A leading carrier of future orientation is the aspirational discourse, which has become prominent in the educational field and among youth. Sociological inquiry is conflicted regarding the outcomes of this discourse. While it is criticized for increasing inequality, it has also been shown that aspirations are means for higher achievements. In this paper, we shift from a focus on outcomes to a focus on interpretation and ask:  How do social actors make sense of aspiring selves despite social limitations and inequality? Based on a qualitative study that tracks the aspirational discourse among school educators and recent high school graduates in Israel, we introduce the concept of “glitches” as articulated detours that rise in response to a mismatch between the discourse and lived experience. We identify three main glitches: deviating from the message “the sky is the limit” by lowering the aspirational sky, pausing future orientation by taking time out and limiting individual accountability by yielding to force majeure. We discuss how each glitch serves a different role in the construction of individuals’ life narratives and argue that the intermittent use of glitches enables individuals to sustain the mythical aspirational discourse, even in moments of mismatch and doubt.

Alfi-Nissan, S. R. & Pagis, M. (2023). Glitches in the Aspirational Discourse: Between Enterprise and Compromise. Sociological Forum. DOI: 10.1111/socf.12935.

PUBLICATIONS

LECTURES AND WORKSHOPS

Image by Joshua Hanson

Storytelling of 
Empirical Knowledge

The ability to consume and to create empirically-based Knowledge is not complete without the ability to tell its story and carry it back to the professional community. This workshop takes the participants on a journey to articulate their public voice, while gaining practical tools to make their knowledge accessible to large audiences.

Image by Drew Beamer

The Presentation of Self in School Education

The role of educators demands highly performative skills, as they create, produce, and direct their performance on the school stage. This workshop is intended for educators who wish to articulate their voice as social leaders. Through the perspective of Ervin Goffman's performance theory of personal interaction and Kurt Lewin's theory of action research we will look at the school stage and its opportunities to create social and organization change.

Image by Volkan Olmez

Research Methods 101

Understanding and producing data can be extremely overwhelming. Sari takes her participants on a worry-free, fun, safe-to-make-mistakes journey to understand all the basics of research methods. This workshop familiarizes the participants through experience of trial and error with tools of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methods.

Image by National Cancer Institute

Values in Education: Who? When? Where? How?

School is not only a space for academic knowledge, but also a social and physical space where children and educators live. What are the social values designing the school's environment? How are they articulated and transformed into everyday school life? What are the connections between social values and social space in school education?

The older I get, the more I learn about my family’s history. I’m named after my great-grandmother, Rima. I used to hate my middle name. I said, ‘The day I turn 18, I’m changing my name.’ Then I heard my father’s story about how Rima never learned to read or write. She used to sign her name with a handprint. When I got my bachelor’s degree, I wrote out my name as ‘Sari Rima Alfi-Nissan.’ Now I’m proud to be named after Rima (Jerusalem Post).

OTHER PUBLICATIONS

"Values Education in Israeli Public-Education: a Qualitative Research"

Center for Knowledge and Research in Education, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. (Hebrew).

כיצד מחנכים לערכים בבתי הספר בישראל?

"Values
Education:
Research Review"

Center for Knowledge and Research in Education, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. (Hebrew)

כיצד מחנכים לערכים בבתי ספר בעולם?

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