My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: II. Why Study Intercultural Friendships?
Friendships are essential in human development. In an era of globalization, in which the intermingling of cultures is on the rise, intercultural friendships are likely to occur more often. Intercultural friendships can be full of frustrating challenges, but they can also provide excellent opportunities for mutual growth and bring about small steps toward social justice. This autoethnographic study focuses on the interface between interculturality and friendship.
The dissertation refers to a friendship that crosses not only cultural borders, but also the national borders between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The friendship thrives in the midst of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is an environment that is not particularly conducive to the formation of friendships between Arabs and Jews. It attempts to provide an answer to the question: What are the challenges and opportunities in an intercultural friendship between a Jewish Israeli man of Western-European origin and a Muslim Palestinian man of Bedouin descent?
Part I of this dissertation starts with a section on the factual aspects of the friendship. Then it presents background to autoethnographic research and sets out the methodology. The methodology relates among others to some of the hardships to be expected in this kind of study.
Part II provides a literature study on interculturality, and includes discussion on culture, value orientations, and the intercultural encounter. Then, the socio-cultural context of this friendship will be described, referring in particular to the Dutch, the Israelis and the Palestinians. This part will also address issues as honor and aggression. The discussion on interculturality will be followed by a literature study on friendship. A special chapter will be devoted to the arduous Bedouin life.