Constructing Peace and Violence in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

  • Chris McVittie
  • Rahul Sambaraju
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


One emerging theme in peace psychology has been the need for a more differentiated perspective on the meanings and types of peace and violence. Recent work has sought to distinguish between direct and structural forms of peace and violence and their consequences for understanding behaviours and addressing different forms of violence. This change in emphasis marks a welcome move away from reliance on unidimensional constructs but nonetheless retains a focus on studying peace and violence as discernible features of external environments. Our argument in this chapter is that to understand the meanings of peace and violence, we have to examine how what is to be counted as peace or violence is negotiated within local contexts. From a discursive perspective, the focus is on how participants construct peace and violence and what they accomplish by doing so. Analysis of data from parties to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict shows that those involved mobilise highly varying versions of their actions and those of others. These versions construct peace and violence in particular ways and, in doing so, orient to accountability for actions occurring in the course of the conflict. For example, claims to peace can be criticised as failing to acknowledge or address previous wrongs, while descriptions of violence can be legitimised on the basis of comprising unexceptional behaviour or as being analogous to actions that have previously been praised not criticised. Peace and violence are seen as negotiated in interaction to achieve social outcomes rather than being straightforward descriptions of external actions and states.


Categorisation Discursive psychology Israel Palestine Peace psychology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen Margaret UniversityEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Trinity College DublinDublinRepublic of Ireland

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