conflict & communication online, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2015
ISSN 1618-0747




Lea Stahel & Christopher Cohrs
Socially shared representations of the Israel-Palestine Conflict: An exploration among conflict outsiders

The aim of this study was to explore the structures of socially shared representations of the Israel-Palestine conflict among conflict outsiders. The sample included Swiss residents with differing levels of self-positioning and engagement in the conflict (N = 31). We expected a ‘spillover effect’ of conflict representations from parties in conflicted societies to conflict outsiders. To assess these representations, a Q-methodological approach was used. The analysis revealed four distinct conflict representations, labeled as (1) a hawkish-religious pro-Israeli view; (2) a dovish pro-Israeli view; (3) a conciliatory view; and (4) a pro-Palestinian view. These representations provide evidence for a partial spillover of beliefs to conflict outsiders. The study contributes to the literature on discourses about the Israel-Palestine conflict by empirically discovering its socially shared, systematic structures.


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The authors:

Lea Stahel is a research assistant and doctoral student at the chair for Political and Economic sociology at the University of Zurich. She completed her Master in Political Psychology at Queen’s University in Belfast/Northern Ireland. Currently, her area of research focuses on Internet protest and waves of outrage in social media. In the past, she has researched social conflict, conflict framing and societal beliefs in conflicted societies.

Address: Lea Stahel, Universität Zürich, Soziologisches Institut, Andreasstrasse 15, CH-8050 Zürich.
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Christopher Cohrs is Assistant Professor in Social Psychology at Jacobs University Bremen (PhD 2004, University of Bielefeld). His research interests focus on political-ideological attitudes, prejudice against immigrants, attitudes to war and military intervention, and representations of intergroup conflict. In 2012 he founded a new international, peer-reviewed open-access journal: the Journal of Social and Political Psychology.

Address: J. Christopher Cohrs, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jacobs University Bremen, Campus Ring 1, D-28759 Bremen.
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