Panopticon of death: Institutional design of bereavement

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13 Scopus citations


Individual behaviors, such as loss-coping and "grief work" are affected in organizational contexts. In everything pertaining to coping with trauma in general, and loss more particularly, the individual is "trapped" within a political psychology that enforces the habitus and expectations of institutional dominance on the ostensibly intimate and private response. Regimes have perceived bereavement over battlefield deaths as a form of social capital that can be mobilized to enhance national loyalty and political support. Employing both existential/hermeneutic and institutional analysis, this study examines three diachronic models of bereavement - hegemonic, political and civil - and their political ramifications in the Israeli context. Drawing on changing parental conceptual orientations towards fallen sons and their role as cultural and ideological agents in public sphere, the article traces the movement of bereavement from its capture by the hegemonic state institutions to its creations under the domination of others institutions: political and civic and ultimate use in critiquing the political and military echelon. The article indicates the powerful impact of the social institutional-organizational context on the intimate-psychological context of coping with loss, by illustrating this phenomenon in the Israeli society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-366
Number of pages16
JournalActa Sociologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • bereavement
  • culture
  • emotional management
  • governability
  • governmentality
  • habitus
  • hegemony
  • institution
  • loss
  • military
  • panopticon
  • political psychology


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