Yuval Feinstein

Department of Sociology, University of Haifa

Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University


I am a senior lecturer in the department of sociology at the University of Haifa in Israel and a visiting scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. I received my PhD in sociology from the University of California in Los Angeles (Go Bruins!). Before that, I studied sociology and anthropology at the University of Haifa (BA and MA).

I am a political sociologist and most of my recent and current research is in the field of ethnicity and nationalism.

My initial research (as a graduate student in Israel and later in the United States) was about social movements in Israel and about civil-military relations in Israel and the United States. In my doctoral dissertation, the focus of my research shifted to nationalism and to political emotions and attitudes. In my dissertation, I developed a novel explanation of the so-called rally-round-the-flag phenomenon in the United States, which is characterized by a sudden and sharp increase in support for sitting presidents and trust in national institutions in response to war or security crisis.

In current main line of research examine the effects of complex ("multidimensional" in the jargon of quantitative research), situated, and dynamic national identities on political attitudes and policy preferences in areas such as peace and wars, and immigration. In my writing, I draw from various theoretical fields including humanistic philosophy, nationalism studies, cultural sociology, sociology of emotions, political psychology, and public opinion research. I apply a variety of research methods, including survey data analysis, experiments, in-depth interviews, and comparative history.

Another line of research extends the scope of my work from nationalism to ethnicity and inter-ethnic relations. This line of research focuses primarily on the relationship between the Jewish majority in Israel and the Arab/Palestinian minority.

My third line of research (with Andreas Wimmer) applies a macro-historical perspective on the development and spread of modern territorial national states across the world, as well as on the relationship between wars and state development.