An Easy Coalition: The Peacecamp Identity and Israeli–Palestinian Track Two Diplomacy
This study presents a systematic transcript-based analysis of the dialogue occurring in a track two workshop attended by Jewish–Israelis and Palestinians. We hypothesized that participants from conflicting groups would form a shared superordinate identity in the course of the workshop. Our findings confirmed this hypothesis.
Consistent with self-categorization theory, we demonstrate that the observed Jewish–Israelis and Palestinians mutually identified with the peacecamp, a collection of people and organizations that promote dialogue and conflict resolution efforts. In line with our expectations, and in contradiction to previous findings concerning communication between groups in conflict, participants demonstrated patterns of cooperative, counter-ethnocentric interaction. Through the paradigm of social identity theory, we explain these phenomena as the result of the participants' salient superordinate peacecamp identity. The study's findings offer an innovative theoretical contribution to the common ingroup identity model, showing that the reduction of intergroup bias can actually hinder the effectiveness of conflict resolution efforts.
Specifically, by forming a superordinate identity, the observed participants are left less able to represents the needs, demands, and claims of their respective national groups and, hence, less able to produce ideas acceptable to their respective publics. The study also offers a practical contribution to the field of track two diplomacy, empirically verifying Hebert Kelman's assertion that when facilitators allow participants to form a cohesive group, they risk damaging both the quality of the workshop's ideas and the participants' ability to influence their leaderships (Rouhana and Kelman 1994; Kelman 1999, 2002).
I have not read this but I am going to offer my own theoretical suspicions:
these key phrases:
- mutually identified with the peacecamp
- participants demonstrated patterns of cooperative, counter-ethnocentric interaction
- the result of the participants' salient superordinate peacecamp identity
- forming a superordinate identity
are a giveaway.
I think I'd call it
self-induced pre-participation submissive identification.
I mean, if the participants are, from the start, sharing not only goals but a history and tag-line of "peace camp" which, given the reality, has proven to be (a) one-sided on the Israelis side; (b) virtually non-existent of the Arab side; (c) basically, radical left-wingers for the most part in Israel who are self-delusional, ignorant of facts, too critical of Zionism and proven unwilling to accept the multiple proofs of failure, then of course they will cooperate.
The model of "a superordinate identity" is basically a trick. It makes use of an 'umbrella' group identity to erase the tensions of prejudice and animosity by having the groups that are in conflict adopt a new definition of who they are. In this study, I would guess that instead of being Jews and Muslims, Arabs and Zionists, Israelis and Palestinians, etc., they convinced themselves they were all peaceniks or some other identity label, maybe even citizens of a new "state of all its citizens".
Thus, these two claims:
the reduction of intergroup bias can actually hinder the effectiveness of conflict resolution efforts
by forming a superordinate identity, the observed participants are left less able to represents the needs, demands, and claims of their respective national groups and, hence, less able to produce ideas acceptable to their respective publics.
are obvious, or should be.
The question is, however, how did the study develop? If the apparent result was "a hindering of the effectiveness of conflict resolution effects", how is peace to be achieved?
If peace is the supreme value, rather than, say, security or national identity, were attempts made to alter identities drastically?
So, how easy, or not, was it to make peace?