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By Marc Howard Ross

Ethnic clash usually makes a speciality of culturally charged symbols and rituals that evoke robust feelings from either side. Marc Howard Ross examines battles over different cultural expressions, together with Islamic headscarves in France, parades in Northern eire, holy websites in Jerusalem and accomplice flags within the American South to suggest a psychocultural framework for knowing ethnic clash, in addition to boundaries to, and possibilities for, its mitigation. His research explores how tradition frames pursuits, buildings demand-making and shapes how rivals can locate universal flooring to provide positive results to long term disputes. He specializes in individuals' money owed of clash to spot emotionally major concerns, and the facility of cultural expressions to hyperlink contributors to bigger identities and form motion. Ross indicates that, opposite to renowned trust, tradition doesn't unavoidably exacerbate clash; quite, the developed nature of psychocultural narratives can facilitate winning clash mitigation during the improvement of extra inclusive narratives and identities.

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Second, contested cultural expressions can focus attention on the emotional dimensions of a conflict and can complement more instrumental bargaining, leading to negotiated agreements and constitutional changes. Third, because cultural conflicts are 16 Introduction constructed they can also be reframed and reconstructed in directions that facilitate deescalation and settlement. Cultural understandings can, and do, change, over time. In some cases, culturally defined conflicts that seem completely intransigent at one point in time are redefined in more inclusive terms as part of a constructive conflict management process.

These strikingly different narratives are often dismissed as rhetorical devices for asserting the priority of their claims. But this is misleading. While competing narratives serve rhetorical purposes, they are much more than political posturing. They are also ‘‘obviously true’’ to group members and offer plausible explanations about the conflict, its causes, the motives of the parties, and what appropriate behavior follows from them. Examples of clashing narratives are accounts of the American civil war that emphasize the importance of race and slavery versus those that focus on states’ rights and constitutional principles; Israeli descriptions of the 1948 war as the war for independence and Palestinian descriptions of the same event as El Nakba (the catastrophe); Protestant descriptions of Catholic hunger strikers in 1981 as murderers while Catholics call the same men martyrs; and the often cited different descriptions of perpetrators of political violence as terrorists versus freedom fighters.

The final chapter reflects on the findings of the cases and emphasizes the role of cultural expressions, narratives, and ritual acknowledgment in peacemaking and reconciliation. 29 2 The political psychology of competing narratives Introduction How do people make sense of complex, emotionally powerful events and why do different, seemingly contradictory, accounts of what seems to outsiders to be the same event so frequently coexist? A short answer is that the different accounts reflect the divergent socially and culturally rooted experiences of opposing groups.

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