Inter-group forgiveness in the aftermath of symmetric and asymmetric communal violence: Contact density and nationalistic climates as contextual mediators
|Title||Inter-group forgiveness in the aftermath of symmetric and asymmetric communal violence: Contact density and nationalistic climates as contextual mediators|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2017|
|Authors||Penic, S, Elcheroth, G, Morselli, D|
|Journal||European Journal of Social Psychology|
In this study, we examine how communal exposure to war violence is related to the inhabitants' forgiveness. Based on multilevel analyses of representative survey data collected in the post-war former Yugoslavia (N = 18 351), we show that forgiveness depends on the type of communal violence: It is lowest in communities exposed to asymmetric and strongest in communities exposed to symmetric violence. We further show the mediating role of the inter-ethnic bonds and nationalistic climates in the communities: while asymmetric violence breaks local inter-ethnic bonds and fuels norms of unconditional nationalism, in communities exposed to symmetric violence, inter-ethnic contact is preserved, and nationalism rejected, more strongly than elsewhere. Our findings thus show that individuals' reconciliatory attitudes depend on the social context in which they are embedded; in particular, on the type of violence that affected their community and on the resulting communal climate that fosters or inhibits inter-ethnic contact and exclusionary identities.