International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution

Article

Redefining Success in Arab–Jewish Dialogue Groups

Learning to Live in Both Worlds

Keywords peace building, shift, interethnic dialogue, success in dialogue, dialogue groups
Authors Nurete Brenner en Victor Friedman
Author's information

250148 Nurete Brenner
PhD, Ursuline College, Cleveland, Ohio.

250150 Victor Friedman
EdD, Action Research Center for Social Justice, Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Yezreel Valley, Israel.
  • Abstract

      Despite the ongoing debate about the effectiveness of intergroup dialogue for conflict resolution, there is surprisingly little conceptualization of what constitutes successful dialogue. On the basis of a qualitative analysis of three US-based Arab–Jewish dialogue groups, using phenomenological methods and a comparison of case studies, this article presents three main dimensions of success: (1) a shift among group members to ‘living in both worlds’, which means that participants learn to accept the others’ views while still maintaining their own; (2) expansion beyond the group boundaries to include people outside the group such as family members, the larger community members and others and (3) resilience, which means being able to stay in relationship with rival group members without necessarily resolving the conflict. These three dimensions, which are linked together, provide potential criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of dialogue groups. The concept of shift is discussed and refined and contrasted with the more general concept of change. Ideas around generalizability are discussed, and the concept of expansion or ‘rippling out’ is suggested instead. Finally, resilience rather than resolution is offered as one of the main objectives of a successful dialogue.

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