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Exposure to Violence and Attitudes Towards Transitional Justice

Hall, Jonathan, Kovras, Iosif, Stefanovic, Djordje, Loizides, Neophytos (2018) Exposure to Violence and Attitudes Towards Transitional Justice. Political Psychology, 39 (2). pp. 345-363. ISSN 0162-895X. E-ISSN 1467-9221. (doi:10.1111/pops.12412) (KAR id:61770)


Transitional justice has emerged to address victims' needs as a means of restoring relations broken by violence. Yet we know little about victims' attitudes towards different transitional justice mechanisms. Why do some victims prioritize retributive justice while others favor other forms of dealing with the violent past? What determines victims' attitudes towards transitional justice policies? To address these questions, we offer a new theoretical framework that draws upon recent insights from the field of evolutionary psychology and links both war exposure and postwar environments to transitional justice preferences. We argue that both past experiences of wartime violence and present-day social interdependence with perpetrators impact transitional justice preferences, but in divergent ways (resulting in greater support for retributive vs. restorative justice measures, respectively). To test our framework, we rely upon a 2013 representative survey of 1,007 respondents focusing on general population attitudes towards transitional justice in Bosnia two decades after the implementation of the Dayton Accords. Specifically, we examine the impact of displacement, return to prewar homes, loss of property, loss of a loved one, physical injury, imprisonment, and torture on attitudes towards transitional justice. On the whole, our findings confirm our two main hypotheses: Exposure to direct violence and losses is associated with more support for retributive justice measures, while greater present-day interdependence with perpetrators is associated with more support for restorative justice measures. While acknowledging the legacy of wartime violence, we highlight the importance of the postwar context and institutional mechanisms that support victims in reconstructing their lives.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/pops.12412
Uncontrolled keywords: exposure to violence, transitional justice, displacement, Bosnia, retributive justice, restorative justice, victimhood
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Neophytos Loizides
Date Deposited: 18 May 2017 10:20 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 22:21 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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