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

The friendship, as will be discussed later, manifests these differences as follows. My friend views himself as embedded in his community, while I see myself as primarily autonomous. He looks at society in a hierarchical way, while I tend more to see people as equal. He is mostly involved with survival, while I am more concerned with self-expression.

Hofstede’s classification

Probably the best known and the most used of the classification systems – and the one that will be applied in this study – is the one by the Dutch social psychologist and anthropologist Geert Hofstede. Hofstede (2001) compared over 70 countries and regions in a continuing analysis of personal values. The research started in the seventies and is based on surveys presented to IBM employees of all levels. In a later stage data from people with other backgrounds were added. Using several measures, Hofstede found four dimensions that differentiate among cultures: power distance, individualism, masculinity and uncertainty avoidance. He viewed these dimensions as independent, which is different from the dimensions in the previously mentioned classifications. Hofstede ranked all investigated countries and regions for each of the dimensions and thus created four indices.


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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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