My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VI. Cultural Differences and the Intercultural Encounter

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VI. Cultural Differences and the Intercultural Encounter

With rising immigration in the West, tensions between native nationals and immigrants increase. Immigrants often encounter negative attitudes, prejudice and discrimination in their new country (Chung et al., 2008; Roccas et al., 2000). Some cultures are more open and inclusive to outsiders than others. Moral inclusiveness, the degree in which cultures are concerned with the welfare of those who are not part of their in-group and apply rules of fairness, was linked to the value orientations of cultural egalitarianism, cultural embeddedness, and level of democratization. Moral inclusiveness was found to influence attitudes toward immigrants from different racial or ethnic groups, and participation in activities that benefit the wider society (Schwartz, 2007). Interpersonal, intercultural conflicts become inevitable. Intercultural conflict was found to predict poor work-related and socio-cultural adaptation, and indirectly also poor psychological adaptation (Shupe, 2007; Ward et al., 2001). Not surprisingly, in Europe and the United States, where in recent years socio-demographics are rapidly changing, much attention is being paid to multiculturalism and to fostering intercultural dialogue.

The encounter with a different culture is inherently stressful (Ward et al., 2001). People may actually be shocked from the encounter with another culture. The term “culture shock” was coined in the early fifties of the 20th century as a malady, a clinical entity, occurring when we are immersed in another culture and lose all familiar signs and symbols of social intercourse (Oberg, 1954). The term underwent some transformations and in later years, it was used less as a clinical term. A more recent description is as follows:

culture shock (1) is a process and not a single event, (2) may take place at many different levels simultaneously as the individual interacts with a complex environment, (3) becomes stronger or weaker as the individual learns to cope or fails to cope, (4) teaches the individual new coping strategies which contribute to future success, and (5) applies to any radical change presenting unfamiliar or unexpected circumstances. (Pedersen, 1995, p. vii).

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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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