My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: IV.Methodology of the Study

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: IV.Methodology of the Study

Four approaches to narrative research have been described, differentiating between a holistic and a categorical approach, and between form and content (Lieblich et al., 1998). The first differentiation refers to the unit of analysis; whereas the holistic approach refers to the narrative as a whole, the categorical approach is more selective. The second differentiation refers to the reading (interpretation) of the text; whereas the content-approach refers to the facts and their meaning, the form-approach refers to the process and the way in which they are presented. The goal of this study was neither to describe Bedouin culture nor intercultural friendship as a whole, but to investigate specifically the challenges and opportunities in the intercultural encounter. Therefore, the present study will limit itself to a categorical/content approach, referring specifically to the category of intercultural friendship, and focusing on the challenges and opportunities around certain topics that recur in friendship interactions. It will relate to form and process aspects of the narrative mainly to highlight issues of content.

Life stories are told in a certain context and the personal narrative cannot be seen apart from the master narrative (Hammack, 2008). Three separate, but interrelated, spheres of contexts were described: the immediate intersubjective relationships in which a narrative is produced; the collective social field in which one’s life and story evolved; and the broad cultural meaning systems or meta narratives that underlie and give sense to any particular life story (Zilber et al., 2008). The next set of essays in this series provides a broader cultural context; the analysis of the specific interactions in the set of subsequent essays will be limited – in most instances – to the immediate experience and the social collective.

The study follows in the steps of “critical autobiographies” (Church, 1995; Tillmann-Healy, 2003), using the author’s life stories as base for social science. The kind of autobiography used to understand a societal phenomenon was coined “autoethnography”, an ethnography about oneself, a study in which the cultural experience of the researcher is central (Awada, 2008; Humphreys, 2005; Maydell, 2010; Taylor, 2008). “The intent of autoethnography is to acknowledge the inextricable link between the personal and the cultural and to make room for nontraditional forms of inquiry and expression” (Wall, 2008, p. 146). In the autoethnography the detached doing of the research and the involved being of the researcher intermingle (Mitra, 2010), both as part of the process of investigation and throughout the text of this set of essays.


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About the Author

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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