- Michael Weinstock
- Published Online:
- 17 Dec 2014
- Volume/Issue No:
- Volume 50 Issue 1
Changing epistemologies under conditions of social change in two Arab communities in Israel
The study of epistemic thinking focuses on how people understand and coordinate objective and subjective aspects of knowing and make sense of multiple and discrepant knowledge claims. Typically described in terms of normative development, cross‐cultural studies show differences in epistemic development and characteristics of epistemic thinking. This study focuses on within‐culture variations of epistemic thinking, with the assumption that social change will produce changes in development. Arab society in Israel has undergone notable change over the last half century. In this cross‐sectional research design, cross‐generational comparison and rural–urban comparison were used as proxies for longitudinal social change. Three generations of Muslim Arab women in a village in Israel (20 adolescents, 20 mothers and 20 grandmothers) and 20 Muslim Arab adolescents from a large, mixed city in the same region responded to six dilemmas invoking epistemic thinking. Village adolescents were more subjectivist than their mothers and grandmothers. Sociodemographic characteristics representing greater exposure to diverse people and ideas accounted for generational differences. Both urban and rural adolescents tended towards subjectivist perspectives, and they did not differ. Parents' education levels emerged as the sociodemographic variables most consistently related to epistemic thinking. Epistemic thinking mediated the relationship between generation and gender role/cross‐sex relation values.
© 2014 International Union of Psychological Science