The glocalization of bereavement: Bereaved families, Economic Discourse and the hierarchy of Israeli Casualties

Udi Lebel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The paper examines two discourses of bereavement that crystallized simultaneously in Israel as the third millennium began. One is "the economic discourse of bereavement," with which official organizations dealing with bereavement sought to "free themselves" from the state's directives on entitlement to compensation. Army widows argued that compensation should not depend on their refraining from remarriage, while bereaved parents demanded it would not be contingent on a means test. They urge for liberation from "role demands" and for presenting entitlement to compensation as entitlement to personal rehabilitation, without using it to support pro-establishment behavior or unending interactions with establishment supervision. Those claims express the linkage of bereavement to globalization and individuation, and the desire to rebel against the republican equation conditioning entitlement to welfare on "proper" establishment-compliant behavior. A second discourse is the "hierarchy of bereavement discourse" - which was placed on the agenda together with the first one, and by the same organizations. Unlike the economic discourse, this one acted to replicate the monopoly held by families of IDF dead in the Israeli pantheon, with attempts to bring into it a group of families of civilian bereavement (families of terror victims). The discourse relies on purely republican underpinnings, complying with the spirit of the local-national period. Exploring the two discourses, that were promoted simultaneously by the same agents, assists an analysis of the Israeli discourse of bereavement that results in its definition as "glocal." This transpires from a review of the literature showing that - even in the face of globalization processes - national-local foundations remained stable. The paper first engages with the concept of glocalization, the ethos of republican citizenship, and, as a facet of it, the identification of social policy as an agent of the social hierarchy, as well as changes in citizenship during globalization. The second section reviews the status of bereaved families, and the central discourses they have promoted in Israeli society. The third and major part contains an analysis of both discourses - the economic discourse of bereavement, and the hierarchy of bereavement discourse. Finally, we attempt to analyze and explain how apparently antithetical discourses took shape in tandem, drawing on the term "glocalism" and the impact of citizenship models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-40
Number of pages30
JournalContributions to Conflict Management, Peace Economics and Development
Issue numberPART 1
StatePublished - 2009


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