Welfare mom as warrior mom: Discourse in the 2003 single mothers' protest in Israel

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Abstract

This study applies critical discourse analysis to the public discourse in Israel regarding the battle of single mothers against extensive welfare cuts. Using the protest of July 2003 as a case study, the article points to parallels between Israel's neo-liberal welfare discourse and that in the US, but also reveals a competing discourse in Israel that incorporated several basic cultural motifs: motherhood, militarism, Zionism and nationalism. While the latter discourse stresses the importance of motherhood and its contribution to society, the former presents single mothers as dependents living off the country's welfare resources. The discourse analysis shows that despite the seeming legitimacy of motherhood in Israel, especially of the Zionist mother who gives birth to soldiers, the negative imagery applied by the neo-liberal ideology to single mothers who receive allowances succeeded in eroding this legitimacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-145
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

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