Perceptions of collective narratives and identity strategies as indicators of intergroup relations: The case of ultra-orthodox and national-religious Jewish communities in Israel

Lior Y. Somech, Shifra Sagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to explore intergroup relations between two Jewish religious groups in Israel, namely, ultra-Orthodox and national-religious communities, by using an integrated model that combines two psychosocial concepts: perceptions of collective narratives and identity strategies. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected from a representative sample of 402 ultra-Orthodox and 388 national-religious Jews living in Israel, of age 18 and over. Repeated-measures ANOVAs were conducted to examine group differences in perceiving in-group and out-group collective narratives and in patterns of identity strategies. Further, partial correlations and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to test the relative contribution of perceptions of collective narratives and patterns of identity strategies. Findings: Willingness to compete with and to separate from the out-group was related to the tendency to reject its collective narrative while endorsing the in-group one. In the same vein, the opposite pattern was found in the relations between willingness to integrate and unite with the out-group and the perceptions of collective narratives. The results also indicate group differences: the ultra-Orthodox exhibited stronger tendencies to preserve their in-group collective narratives and to reject the out-group, as well as stronger endorsement of identity strategies of competition and separation compared to national-religious. Practical implications: The results suggest that it might be useful to encourage dialogue between both groups to clarify each side’s narratives and rationale underlying the endorsement of specific identity strategies. Such an open dialogue could help each group understand the other group’s needs and might also reduce their sense of threat as well as anxiety about losing their religious and social uniqueness. One possible opportunity for such dialogue is workplaces in which members of each group can gradually uncover stereotypes, enhancing reconciliation and willingness to accept the “other’s” collective narrative and choose to adhere more to the similar than dissimilar characteristics. Originality/value: This is the first study, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, to examine collective narratives and identity strategies as powerful indicators of intergroup relations between two minority groups of the same religion. Within such a unique context, the power struggle exists and the separation and competition strategies are apparent, but the main conflictual issue is related to similarities and discrepancies of religious ideologies, values, norms and worldviews that shape one’s daily life and his/her encounter with the similar but different “other”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-308
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Collective narratives
  • Identity strategies
  • Intergroup relations
  • Jewish religious communities

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