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The Emotional Reengineering of Loss: On the Grief-Anger-Social Action Continuum

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This article deals with the role of bereaved parents' anger as a motivating force for political and public activism. After reviewing the place of anger in the experience of processing loss and bereavement and presenting anger as a factor that leads to public initiative, the article deals with the place that anger occupies in the bereaved sector of Israeli society. The claim is made that Israeli society has changed since its early years, when “the national management of emotions” did not allow anger to be present in the public discourse of bereaved parents, to the current era in which anger is an inseparable part of Israeli bereavement discourse. The following section of the article includes an interpretive analysis of the place of anger among the research subjects, bereaved parents who later became public and political entrepreneurs. All of the research subjects lost a son in one of three circumstances that are part of the Israeli security agenda: operational accidents, terrorist attacks, and IDF combat in Lebanon. Finally, the study attempts to answer how anger structures both public and private bereavement in Israel, shaping the bereaved parents as instant celebrities.
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Keywords: Anger; Bereaved Parents; Bereavement; Instant Celebrities; Israel; Loss; Political Behavior

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Sapir College and Ariel University Center 2: Bar Ilan University

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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