Collective narratives as indicators of examining intergroup relations: The case of Palestinian Muslims and Christians in Israel

Anan Srour, Shifra Sagy, Adi Mana, Serene Mjally-Knani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aims to examine inter-group relations between two religious minorities, Palestinian Christians and Muslim citizens of Israel, by measuring perceptions of in-group and "other" group collective narratives. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected from a representative sample of 1,121 Muslims and 756 Christians in Israel. The questionnaire presents narratives that are common among Muslim and Christian populations in Israel, relating to eight different historical, social, or political events. Subjects were asked to rate levels of legitimacy, feeling of empathy, and anger towards each one of the presented narratives. Findings: In comparison to Muslims, Christians reported a lower tendency to give legitimacy to the narrative of the other, showed more emotions of anger, and lower feeling of empathy towards the Muslim narrative. In addition, a content analysis of the narratives that were used in the questionnaire revealed two different patterns of response to narratives. One related to narratives with national issues, where Christians seemed to be excluded from the Palestinian nation, and the other related to narratives with religious issues, where Muslims reported more anger, less empathy and less legitimacy towards the Christian narratives. Originality/value: The paper presents a new tool based on Sagy, Adwan and Kaplan, developed to examine perceptions of in-group and "other" group collective narratives. This study examined the tool in a different context of conflict. In addition to the quantitative measures of the perceptions of the collective narratives, the paper describes a new method for analyzing the data collected by this tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-244
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2013


  • Arab minority in Israel
  • Christianity
  • Christians-Muslims relationships
  • Collective narratives
  • Group behaviour
  • Intergroup relationships
  • Islam
  • Narratives
  • Religious minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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