Personal Narratives as a Peacebuilding Tool: A Study of Djerbien Jewish and Muslim Co-existence


Throughout my life, my Djerbien grandmothers emphasized the importance of storytelling and of recording the oral history of their small Tunisian island. Djerba is unique in many ways, not least of which is its thriving community of Muslims and Jews who have lived together in peace for centuries. Particularly considering the deep-seeded conflicts between people of these two religions in other parts of the world, I wanted to explore how Djerbiens have used narratives to create and maintain a culture of co-existence.

I engaged in in-depth interviews with eight residents of El Hara Esseghira and El Hara Kebira, two Djerbien communities where Muslims and Jews have lived together for over a millennium. Three major themes were revealed in the course of the research: kinship, communal relations, and social identity. The data collected from in-depth interviews, informal interviews, and observation help to explain the co-existence that is prevalent on the island, and can serve as inspiration to diverse communities throughout the world struggling to co-exist. This study will also aid in preserving the richness that exists within Djerbien identity and culture while demonstrating how narratives contribute to a culture of co-existence within their community.


International and Intercultural Communication | Other International and Area Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology

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