Victim into sacrifice: The construction of the old as a symbolic type

Haim Hazan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on the conceptual framework of symbolic types, the paper analyses a case study of media presentation of the old in Israel. Being a T.V. based fund raising event, the motif of the role of the elderly as dependent, vulnerable and collective social victims was prominent. The paper argues that this symbolic position construction serves to impart cultural attributes to an unidentifiable phenomenon, while exonerating the non-aged viewer from assuming personal responsibility to his/her kith and kin by means of communal moral absolution. It is also maintained that the symbolic type generated helps to create a barrier between the living and the dead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990


  • Ageing
  • care
  • media
  • social stereotypes
  • symbolic types


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