This article explores the uses of personal narratives of massive social trauma in conflict, most specifically as they relate to the Palestinian-Israeli context. It is asserted that there are types of narratives, fixated on persecution, hatred, and fear, that can obstruct peace, and different types that encourage peace and reconciliation. The article discusses the impacts of sharing personal narratives on the victims and others in society, the connections between personal and master narratives, and ways in which dialogue that incorporates personal narratives can encourage peace. A theoretical categorization of 4 types of personal narratives of massive social trauma is proposed: narratives of vengeance, victimhood, confusion, and embracing the other. Examples from Israelis and Palestinians that reflect this conceptualization are discussed. It is concluded that a more nuanced understanding of types of personal narratives is needed when engaged in peace-building endeavors in an ongoing conflict.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychology (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health