Perceptions of Collective Narratives Among Arab and Jewish Adolescents in Israel: A Decade of Intractable Conflict

  • Anan SrourEmail author
  • Adi Mana
  • Shifra Sagy
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


One of the core concepts in Bar-Tal’s paradigm of understanding intractable conflicts is that of collective narratives of the groups involved (Bar-Tal, Living with the conflict: Socio-psychological analysis of the Israeli-Jewish society. Jerusalem: Carmel (in Hebrew), 2007). This chapter presents a longitudinal study to understand changes in the perceptions of collective narratives for the “in” group and the “out” group during different sociopolitical periods. We examined the changes in the emotional and cognitive reactions towards the collective narratives of the in-group and the out-group among both Jewish and Arab adolescents who are Israeli citizens. Data were collected in four stages (1999–2000, 2002, 2004, and 2009) among different samples which ranged from 545 participants to 1188 in the Jewish samples and from 365 participants to 575 in the Israeli Arab samples. We used the measure designed by Sagy et al. (Am J Orthopsychiatry 72(1):26–38, 2002) that assesses legitimacy, empathy, and anger evoked by two different narratives presented for a historical event, one attributed to the in-group and the other to the out-group.

Our results suggest that during this decade, there has been an increase in adherence to in-group narratives and in delegitimization of the “other” narratives, both cognitively and emotionally. Moreover, the perceptions of the narratives have gradually become more coherent as measured by the correlation between the cognitive and emotional elements of the narrative perceptions. The results are discussed with a focus on the role of the conflictual reality in the development of psychological barriers as reflected by perceptions of collective narratives.


Peace Process Peace Talk Emotional Element Conflict Intensity Group Narrative 
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conflict Management and Resolution ProgramBen Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyPeres Academic CenterRehovotIsrael

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