Home

I taught at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the Hebrew University for twenty-six years. From 2011 I established FEBA Research and Consultancy which is based in Jerusalem (feba@netvision.net.il) and since 2013 I am a Senior Research Fellow at The Kinneret Center on Peace, Security and Society in Memory of Dan Shomron (Kinneret College).

I studied for my bachelors and masters degrees at the Hebrew University and completed my PhD at Cambridge University. In general, my work is rooted in anthropology but with a very strong emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of social life and culture. In studying and writing I have tried not only to explore contemporary anthropological and sociological issues, but have also endeavored to demonstrate how the use of social scientific concepts can contribute to a better understanding of cultures, social formations, behaviors and the meanings people use to make sense of their lives. I have worked and published with scholars from a large variety of disciplines to engage in a multi-disciplinary approach to social life and have worked with political scientists, cultural historians, social-psychologists, geographers, sociologists and anthropologists. Over the years I have also been active in organizing a selection of international workshops and seminars. In fact, the edited books that I have published with other scholars are based on workshops held in Israel, Japan, The Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, and Denmark.

I have carried out research in Israel, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. In Israel I have studied various aspects of the Israel Defence Forces and with colleagues published a book on the ways the ground forces of the Israeli military have waged combat in the Al-Aqsa Intifada. In Japan my research has been on white-collar communities, early childhood education, and the Japanese community in Singapore. I am currently doing research on the place of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in Japanese society.

I was a Visiting Professor at the Department of Anthropology and School of Business, University of Wisconsin, Madison; the Department of Japanese Studies, National University of Singapore; the Department of Japanese Studies, Hong Kong University; the Faculty of Comparative Culture, Sophia University; the Asia-Pacific Research Institute, Waseda University and Institute for Research in the Humanities, Kyoto University.

Active in Israeli public life, between 2004-2005 I was Director of the Harry S Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, participated in committees dealing with the Israeli military, and acted as a research consultant to the Behavioral Sciences Departments of the Israeli Forces. The most recent projects within which I have taken part are specially designated boards to discuss the structure of Israeli reserve forces and the system of compulsory military service, and numerous dialoging forums bringing Palestinians and Israelis together.

 

Business

Since the late 1980s I have been asked to present lectures or to participate in workshops devoted to business in East Asia with a special emphasis on Japan. My expertise lies in understanding how business is related to wider social and cultural issues, to business manners and interactions, and to the globalization of corporations.

Business in East and Southeast Asia: Asia is the up and coming area where economic activities and business life are thriving. Since the late 1980s I have been lecturing and consulting for various companies on business in East Asia with a special emphasis on Japan. As Japanese enterprises have expanded abroad, they have had to face the problems of wider cultural and social issues. Based on my work on Japanese business expatriates in Singapore – including detailed studies of particular companies, I have developed an expertise in understanding how business is related to different cultural assumptions (for instance, about resolving conflict or taking initiative), modes of interactions, and the globalization of corporations.

My recent work on popular culture in East and Southeast Asia has focused on two crucial areas that present problems for any company considering expansion to the area. First, the special kinds of networks of collaboration and co-production that have emerged in the area (many of them centered on individuals or on families and not on large corporations) and the ways in which regional nodes of creativity have emerged to produce and market local products. Second, I have studied the unique roles of governments in the area in both promoting and restricting international cooperative ventures in the region.

Multi-cultural workplaces: From a wider perspective, business today is attuned to cultural differences and many enterprises are multi-cultural affairs. How does one take into account these differences? How can employees and managers work in multi-cultural teams? What mechanisms can be put into place for easing this work? Since the end of the 1990s and based on my work on multi-national military forces, research into Japanese business enterprises in Singapore, and the work of my students I have expanded my consultancy and presentations to multi-cultural workplaces. As an anthropologist my expertise lies in answering these questions related to the special cultural aspects of doing business.

Multi-cultural workplaces are often characterized by communication problems, coordination and cooperation difficulties, the prevalence of in-group/out-group stereotypes, and lowered trust and cohesion. Yet such places also present such advantages as a wider pool of task-related skills, abilities and perceptions that may lead to improved processes of problem solving and decision-making, and greater creativity. My work focuses on finding ways to make use of the benefits while minimizing the potential damages in such situations. Among the processes that I focus on are creating of a common professional culture, sharing experiences, or linguistic and cultural clarity of communication.

Contact

Eyal Ben-Ari

Professor of Anthropology

You can get in touch with me by filling the contact form below.