"Whom to blame?" The culture of loss following crisis: Culture shifts in the bereaved parents-state relationship

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Abstract

This article delineates three models of public behavior exhibited by parents of fallen soldiers in Israel: the "hegemonic bereavement model" that emerged after the War of Independence (1948);the "political bereavement model" that appeared in the wake of the Yom Kippur War (1973);the "no confidence model" that materialized following major accidents and revelations of negligence during the 1990s.

These paradigmatic behaviors emerge in the wake of crisis situations that took a heavy toll in military dead and wounded. The article traces the public initiatives of those bereaved parents who, following their personal tragedy, became social and media activists and formulators of public consciousness. It opens with a review of relevant theoretical literature in the field of culture and state pertaining to cultural codes and the impact of crises on them. The initial model exhibits a conformist code that reproduces state sanctioned behavior for representative mourners in national commemorative endeavors. This is followed by two behavioral codes that are essentially counter establishment, one directing its critique towards incompetent military implementation and the second charging the formulators of government policy for the tragedies of the fallen. The concluding section presents some generalizations on the topic of time and bereavement in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-388
Number of pages26
JournalJournal for Cultural Research
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2006

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