Whose house is this? Dilemmas of identity construction in the Israeli-Palestinian context

Tal Litvak-Hirsch, Dan Bar-On, Julia Chaitin

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18 Scopus citations


This article examines the ways in which one's perception of the other contributes to processes involved in the construction of collective identity. This study presents analyses and comparisons of semi-structured interviews using a dilemma concerning ownership of a house that was undertaken with 20 Jewish and Palestinian university students, citizens of Israel, who participated in a 1-year seminar that dealt with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Analyses of the entire sample showed that, during the year, all of the participants enhanced their self-awareness of the complexity of the conflict. Each group emphasized the processes that reflect the role of the conflict in the construction of its collective identity. The Palestinians appeared to be in the process of constructing their identity and the Jews in the process of deconstructing theirs while trying to cope with their need for security during the on-going conflict. In-depth analyses of interviews with 2 women students highlighted the processes of identity construction that both groups underwent during the year. In the discussion, we suggest that there are connections between personal and social processes and the construction of identity that are taking place today in Jewish and Palestinian Israeli society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-148
Number of pages22
JournalPeace and Conflict
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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