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The child dressed as a 'baby bomber'

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Introduction

The child dressed as a 'baby bomber', Daily Mail, Friday June 28,2002 1. The article depicts a Palestinian child clothed as a 'suicide bomber', with the underlying assumptions of inter-group discrimination between groups, social learning theory and conformity. One of the few certainties of the conflict is the discrimination between the two 'groups'. The attitude of the Palestinian side can be seen from the article, "a large bomb making factory and more than a hundred devices" as that of the Israelis, "Israeli forces swarmed into Hebron". From the situation it is clear ethnocentrism has been exploited. M.Sherif (1956) summer camp experiments suggest that just being in a group is enough to create ethnocentrism. Tajfel (1970) conducted 'The Minimal Group Studies' with the minimal group paradigm using empirical research involving 14 to 15 year olds boys, creating two situations, which give rise to ethnocentrism. Tajfel (1970) defined the situations as in-group out-group discrimination. Social learning theory, Bandura et al (1961) ...read more.

Middle

However the ecological validity of his experiment is questionable as it is not representative of real life. In Israel it is the land that is in question and both lay claim to it. Problems over the land has lead to prejudice which then becomes discrimination that appears to have risen from inter-group rivalry over the disputed land. Despite the experiment being dogged by demand characteristics (participants possibly guessing the variable at study), the relevance of the general results shows the readiness of discrimination between participants unknown to each other. Aggressive role models are probably the most serious of the three assumptions. With the terrorists and army respectively the two state leaders Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon both engage in aggressive politics. Bandura Ross & Ross (1961) supported their two hypothesises and another showing that those exposed to non aggressive models displayed non aggressive behaviour. It could be concluded that the Palestinian youth are pre-disposed to prejudice and aggression at an early age and thus may not develop a sense of reason. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is the inter-group rivalry that created the prejudice leading to discrimination that defines the two people as in and out groups. Besides the land, Israeli incursions and Palestinian terrorists create further flashpoints for inter-group rivalry, ultimately leading to discrimination from both sides. The effect of role models in the conflict is profound. One certainty is that of the aggressive role model and how it has influenced both parties. I suggest that Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat should promote themselves as 'assertive' rather than 'aggressive' leaders, thus by doing so it is hoped they would become non-aggressive models. In reference to Bandura et al (1961) younger generations should support these figureheads. Milgram's study implies that people are inclined to adopt obedient behaviours with regard to authority figures. Therefore I propose that a useful solution and application of the study would be to establish non-aggressive leaders within Israeli politics. Instead of 'removing' obedience or conformity non-aggressive models could channel both re-directing them from aggressive models. As with all the suggestions this would take time and a rest bite in the conflict. ...read more.

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