Identity formation in the shadow of conflict: Projective drawings by Palestinian and Israeli Arab children from the West Bank and Gaza

Salman Elbedour, David T. Bastien, Bruce A. Center

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social identity is thought to be the means through which individuals understand themselves in their social context. Understanding the processes of identity formation in the context of intergroup conflict is particularly important, since social identity is critical to understanding how people act. Social identity, though, has been a difficult process to study since it is a purely internal construct. In this study, we argue that free- form drawings provide the greatest insight into how people see themselves in their social context. Data were gathered from Arab subjects in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Among the important findings is that subjects exposed to the greatest conflict tend to organize their identities in ways that include their enemy as well as themselves. This necessarily creates a situation where the conflict becomes self- perpetuating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-231
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1997

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