My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VII. Cultural Differences–Honor and Aggression

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VII. Cultural Differences–Honor and Aggression

Aggression is influenced by individual characteristic as well as by cultural factors (Cohen & Leung, 2010; Leung & Cohen, 2011). Aggression is valued differently in different cultures, and in some cultures may be justified as a way to solve interpersonal conflict, in particular in cultures that emphasize honor (Anderson & Bushman, 2002; Cohen et al., 1996). Those in power regularly use a variety of measures to stay in power. Aggression is often used to maintain pressure on people or subgroups to conform to the norms of the majority (Hopper, 2003). Generally, men tend to be more aggressive than women are. Fear of losing status and respect in the eyes of fellow men was found to be the major concern that evokes their aggression (Fischer & Mosquera, 2002). Also, the threat to manhood was found to activate physically aggressive thoughts (Vandello et al., 2008). Much of men’s aggression is directed against women. Frequent use of aggression can create situations of inequality and injustice, particularly for women and within the family (Haj-Yahia, 2002; Herzog, 2004; Malik & Lindahl, 1998; Vandello & Cohen, 2003).

Justifying the use of power does not necessarily mean that people are themselves more aggressive. For example, an Israeli study found that Arab parents and teachers were more aggressive than their Jewish counterparts and Arab adolescents tended more to justify aggression Nonetheless, the Jewish adolescents were actually more aggressive and violent in their families, neighborhoods and schools than the Arab adolescents (Sherer & Karnieli-Miller, 2004). Cultural dissimilarities on the expression of aggression in the workplace were found also between Jewish and Arab Israeli employees. Jewish employees tended to express overt aggression toward their superiors, whereas Arab employees displayed a tendency to express covert aggression. This difference was linked to a divergence on individualism/collectivism (Galin & Avraham, 2009).


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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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