Encountering the narrative of the "other": comparing two types of dialogue groups of Jews and Arabs in Israel

Efrat Zigenlaub, Shifra Sagy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Employing contact approach (Allport, 1954) within the context of
inter-group relations, this paper compares two types of contact in
dialogue groups carried out with the aim of increasing the
acknowledgment of the collective narrative of the "other" and
willingness to reconcile. This study used mixed methodology to
examine whether interpersonal contact is advantageous compared
to encountering the other's narrative without direct contact. The
comparison was conducted between two dialogue groups of
students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel during the
2016-2017 academic year. The intra-group included Israeli-Jewish
students only, while the inter-group included Israeli-Jewish and
Israeli-Arab students. The quantitative study included several
variables relevant to inter-group relations: perceptions of collective
narratives, feelings towards the other, trust in the other, and
willingness to reconcile. The qualitative study used process
evaluation based on thematic analysis of transcriptions of all
meetings and tours and of semi-structured interviews. The findings
indicate that, among Israeli-Jewish participants in both groups, the
legitimacy of Palestinian narratives and trust toward Palestinians
increased, while hatred, fear, and anger decreased. Feelings of
shame towards Palestinians increased in the intra-group and
decreased in the inter-group. In addition, the correlations between Employing contact approach (Allport, 1954) within the context of
inter-group relations, this paper compares two types of contact in
dialogue groups carried out with the aim of increasing the
acknowledgment of the collective narrative of the "other" and
willingness to reconcile. This study used mixed methodology to
examine whether interpersonal contact is advantageous compared
to encountering the other's narrative without direct contact. The
comparison was conducted between two dialogue groups of
students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel during the
2016-2017 academic year. The intra-group included Israeli-Jewish
students only, while the inter-group included Israeli-Jewish and
Israeli-Arab students. The quantitative study included several
variables relevant to inter-group relations: perceptions of collective
narratives, feelings towards the other, trust in the other, and
willingness to reconcile. The qualitative study used process
evaluation based on thematic analysis of transcriptions of all
meetings and tours and of semi-structured interviews. The findings
indicate that, among Israeli-Jewish participants in both groups, the
legitimacy of Palestinian narratives and trust toward Palestinians
increased, while hatred, fear, and anger decreased. Feelings of
shame towards Palestinians increased in the intra-group and
decreased in the inter-group. In addition, the correlations between Employing contact approach (Allport, 1954) within the context of
inter-group relations, this paper compares two types of contact in
dialogue groups carried out with the aim of increasing the
acknowledgment of the collective narrative of the "other" and
willingness to reconcile. This study used mixed methodology to
examine whether interpersonal contact is advantageous compared
to encountering the other's narrative without direct contact. The
comparison was conducted between two dialogue groups of
students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel during the
2016-2017 academic year. The intra-group included Israeli-Jewish
students only, while the inter-group included Israeli-Jewish and
Israeli-Arab students. The quantitative study included several
variables relevant to inter-group relations: perceptions of collective
narratives, feelings towards the other, trust in the other, and
willingness to reconcile. The qualitative study used process
evaluation based on thematic analysis of transcriptions of all
meetings and tours and of semi-structured interviews. The findings
indicate that, among Israeli-Jewish participants in both groups, the
legitimacy of Palestinian narratives and trust toward Palestinians
increased, while hatred, fear, and anger decreased. Feelings of
shame towards Palestinians increased in the intra-group and
decreased in the inter-group. In addition, the correlations between the various variables were strengthened in the intra-group only,
indicating the development of more coherent and less confused
perceptions of the conflict in this group, but not in the inter-group.
The qualitative study revealed a major process experienced by the
participants, which also appeared in the intra-group: the development
of critical thinking about existing knowledge. The research
questions of comparison between the two types of dialogue groups
are discussed with regard to the question of interpersonal contact
not only as a promoting factor in a dialogue group, but also as an
inhibitor of the process of acknowledging and accepting the other.
The possibility of intra-group dialogue in the midst of a violent
conflict appears to be a realistic and positive tool for peace education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIsraeli and Palestinian Collective Narratives in Conflict
Subtitle of host publicationA tribute to Shifra Sagy and her work
Editors Adi Mana, Anan Srour
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Chapter14
Pages288-312
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print) 9781527559622
StatePublished - 2020

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