Some fundamental questions about the individual and the family in communal life are raised in this first collection of essays in English by Israeli sociologist Yonina Talmon. The author, who hitherto has been known to students of revolutionary and collectivist societies mainly through her journal articles, was engaged in an extensive study of the kibbutz at the time of her death in 1966. The decade of research conducted in representative kibbutzim, in cooperation with the Federation of Kevutzot and Kibbutzim, included interviews with kibbutz members as well as observation of kibbutz life. The author gives here a general report on the findings, followed by the results of seven specific investigations that shed light on major problems of many societies: social structure and family size; children’s sleeping and family eating arrangements; occupational placement of the second generation; mate selection; aging; social differentiation; and secular asceticism.
“This collection of essays,” writes S. N. Eisenstadt in his Introduction, “represents a landmark in the development of the sociological study of the kibbutz movement.” Yonina Talmon’s “work not only opened up the kibbutz to sociological research, but put the research on kibbutz life in the forefront or sociological thinking and analysis.”