E. Orr, S. Sagi & D. Bar-On (2000).
Social Representations in Use: Israeli and Palestinian
High School Students’ Collective Coping and Defense.
Papers on Social Representations, 9, pages 2.1-2.20.
Israeli and Palestinian high school students are members of opposing
ethno-national groups in a situation of intractable and violent conflict.
We hypothesized that 16-year-old Israeli Jewish (N=1138) and
Palestinian (N=1099) students share a collective representational field
which serves them well in coping with the violent situation, but
impedes them from taking alternative routes out of it. Collective
(vs. individual) coping and defense are defined by the concepts of
social representations (SR). The hypothesis is demonstrated on data
taken from “Youth & History”, an international European project of
historical consciousness (Angvik & von Borries, 1997). Our results
show a similar pattern of SR among Israelis and Palestinians. Both
attribute high importance to a combined facet of personal and
ethno-national values, justify war as a means of achieving national
independence, and exhibit either extremely optimistic (Israelis) or
extremely pessimistic (Palestinians) historical consciousness. In
addition, both groups were more reluctant than Europeans to pay
a price for peace and both isolated their SR of war and peace
from other parts of their representational field. Finally, speculations
are suggested regarding the roots, function and the dynamics of
change of this pattern.