My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: V. Data Collection and Analysis

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: V. Data Collection and Analysis

We can see the importance of individual differences by looking at our brothers. Bashar once remarked on the difference between him and one of his brothers: “He is Dutch; for him, everything needs to be exact” (Bashar Abu Sahra, personal communication April 15, 2011). Another brother of his, Abu Omar, obviously has a more gentle character than Bashar has. I met him frequently and he will be mentioned in this study further on. Likewise, some of my brothers are more sociable than I am, while others take fewer risks in life than I do. When examining personal and cultural characteristics, we need to take into account the interactive effects between the individual and the culture. Not only do some cultures enhance certain personal characteristics, but also characteristics could be viewed differently depending on the cultural context. Thus, it is doubtful whether Bashar’s “Dutch” brother, who in his culture is viewed as pedantic, would be perceived likewise in Dutch culture. As much as possible, I will try to emphasize in this study the cultural aspects, but obviously individual differences will play a role as well.

Furthermore, studies on culture may be performed by an outsider to the culture (the “outsider” position), or from within the culture (the “insider” position). Both perspectives have their advantages and disadvantages, and it may be valuable or even essential to make use of both (Jones, 2010; Maydell, 2010). In this study, it is somewhat difficult to differentiate between the two different perspectives. I did not come in to the Bedouin community in order to perform research and disappear, but have been actively involved from before my Doctoral studies and not just for the sake of research. My friend’s friends became my friends and I spend a large part of my leisure time with them. I thus had many opportunities to experience a rich variety of intercultural encounters. Even so, I did not grow up as a Bedouin and I will never be “one of them”. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to describe myself as either a complete “outsider” or an “insider”; I am somewhere in between, a situation that is expected to affect my findings (Breen, 2007; Rogoff, 2003; Tillmann-Healy, 2003). Bashar’s feedback on my findings will be a way to balance my views with insider information.


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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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