My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: II. Why Study Intercultural Friendships?

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: II. Why Study Intercultural Friendships?

In Part III, the friendship will be analyzed through the perspective of cultural dimensions or value orientations, as found by Hofstede (2001). The analysis of the cultural differences will be performed through the discussion of selected topics for each of the dimensions: individualism/collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance and masculinity/femininity. As will be shown, the differences affecting the friendship are tremendous on each of the dimensions. Since the impressions from the friendship as regarding “uncertainty avoidance” do not fit the theory well, it is suggested to divide the field of “uncertainty avoidance” into two separate dimensions, namely “tradition” and “discipline”. The disparity on the dimension of “tradition” does not seem to bring about major challenges or opportunities within the realm of the friendship, whereas the opposite is true for the dimension of “discipline”.

Bridging cultural differences involved emotional, cognitive and behavioral challenges, but provided opportunities as well. Challenges and opportunities will be explained in detail and illustrated expansively by stories from the friendship. Among others, I will discuss having a first birthday at 34, crossing the border between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, working at the garage, getting stuck in a traffic jam, being a man, dancing with a drug dealer and losing calmness over the sister of Moustafa’s wife. Some of these stories are casual and relaxed, but many are thrilling.

The dissertation will close with Part IV, which contains the conclusion of this study, referring to the important place of the dissertation within the friendship and the challenges in studying a friendship. It also relates to the process of transformative learning, value change and personal growth because of the intercultural encounter. This is followed by possible implications of the study for the field of psychology and for social justice.


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About the Author

Daniel Weishut

Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations. Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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