Negative Symbolic Capital and Politicized Military Widowhood

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Smadar Ben-Asher
Ya’arit Bokek-Cohen


This article presents the diametrically opposed experience of politicized wid­owhood of Jewish and Muslim Bedouin war widows. Widows in both sectors were interviewed regarding their perceived experiences of widowhood. While Jewish war widows are glorified and become national symbols, Bedouin wid­ows are subject to marginalization and exclusion and cannot take advantage of the unique benefits they are accorded as war widows by the state. The article offers a Bourdieusian theoretical analysis of the different status of Bedouin war widows and proposes the concept of negative symbolic capital to account for the politicized widowhood that results in the empowerment of Jewish widows and the disempowerment of their Bedouin counterparts.

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