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A sense of self-perceived collective victimhood in intractable conflicts

30-06-2009 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 874, by Daniel Bar-Tal, Lily Chernyak-Hai, Noa Schori and Ayelet Gundar

A sense of self-perceived collective victimhood is a mindset resulting from a perceived intentional harm inflicted on a group by another group. This emerges as a major theme in societies involved in intractable conflict. This article analyses the nature and antecedents of the self-perceived collective sense of victimhood in conflict, the functions that it fulfils for the society, and its consequences.

   

Daniel Bar-Tal is a political psychologist. He is the BrancoWeiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education at Tel-Aviv University’s School of Education. Lily Chernyak-Hai, Noa Schori and Ayelet Gundar are studying social psychology at the Department of Psychology,Tel-Aviv University. Chernyak-Hai and Schori are PhD candidates, while Gundar is reading for an MA. 
 
Abstract 
A sense of self-perceived collective victimhood emerges as a major theme in the ethos of conflict of societies involved in intractable conflict and is a fundamental part of the collective memory of the conflict. This sense is defined as a mindset shared by group members that results from a perceived intentional harm with severe consequences, inflicted on the collective by another group. This harm is viewed as undeserved, unjust and immoral, and one that the group could not prevent. The article analyses the nature of the self-perceived collective sense of victimhood in the conflict, its antecedents, the functions that it fulfils for the society and the consequences that result from this view.  


 
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