A Case Study of Bedouin Women's Art in Social Work. A Model of Social Arts Intervention with ‘Traditional’ Women Negotiating Western Cultures Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper exemplifies how symbolic self-expression offers the opportunity to express alternative perspectives and hybrid identities that challenge dominant social work paradigms, often in a way that is perceived as less threatening than words by ‘traditional’ women crossing cultural borders due to immigration, or to indigenous cultural transition. This model will be exemplified with a case study of group art work by marginalized Bedouin women in Israel undergoing rapid cultural transition. This will show how symbolic rather than direct forms of expression, mediated through the social–critical prism of third world feminism (namely the static elements of culture and gender, and their interaction with the dynamic elements of hybrid cultural identity and the negotiation of new types of poverty) enabled the social worker to get closer to the pain, dilemmas, conflicts, and solutions that the women constantly negotiate within their hybrid social realities. The aim of using the arts to intensify the interpretive voice of the women is to listen to that voice beyond its ‘entertainment’ element to the level of how it shifts the understanding of people in power and redirects social work policy and intervention.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009