How Palestinian students invoke the category ‘human’ to challenge negative treatment and media representations

Emma Heywood, Simon Goodman

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    5 Citations (Scopus)
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    Dehumanization of opponents in conflict has been shown to be a common and damaging feature in the media. What is not understood is how this dehumanization is challenged which is the novel contribution that this research will make. Drawing on focus groups (four focus groups each with four-six participants) conducted in the West Bank in 2015 that discussed media coverage of international conflict, this article demonstrates the ways in which young Palestinian participants attempt to rehumanize themselves in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Discursive analysis demonstrates how this was achieved in a number of ways: categorizing Palestinians as ‘human being’; by directly and explicitly challenging the suggestion that Palestinians are less than human; by drawing the enemy into the category ‘human’; and by embodying the ‘human’. These findings, the first to address the talk of young Palestinians about the reporting of violent conflicts around the world, demonstrate the importance of categorization and how, in this case, the specifics of the use of the (human) category work to rehumanize Palestinians in the face of (claims of) dehumanization.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)133-145
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
    Issue number2
    Early online date26 Nov 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

    Bibliographical note

    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Heywood, E & Goodman, S 2018, 'How Palestinian students invoke the category ‘human’ to challenge negative treatment and media representations' Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, vol. (In-press), pp. (In-press).which has been published in final form at This article may be used for noncommercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Dehumanization
    • Rehumanization
    • Categorization
    • Conflict
    • Media
    • Discursive Psychology
    • Palestine
    • West Bank


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