The Social Status of War Widows

August 1983 (VOL. 1, NO. 2)

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The paper deals with changes int he place of families in society due to the long term effect of disaster on the family. It draws on interviews with Israeli war widows, faced with erosion in the status formerly accorded them through their late husband.\r\n\r\nThree alternative methods used by the widows to create a substitute status to halt this decline are described. None of them succeeded in preventing erosion in the status of the widow and her family. Over time, the place of the family within the various social groups and categories to which it had belonged was lost, due to the weakened position of the widow in her social network.\r\n\r\nThe centrifugal process which pushes families affected by disaster to the margin of society, creates vacancies in different social groups and categories throughout society. Quantitatively large changes of this sort might result in significant qualitative changes in the composition of those groups and categories.