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Meaningless gestures or pathway to healing and reconciliation? Comparing the perspectives on political apologies in victim and non‐victim communities in El Salvador, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom

Sagherian‐Dickey, Thia; Schaafsma, Juliette; Zoodsma, Marieke; Cho, Ha Jung; Dinnick, Iwan; Kim, Jimin; Noor, Masi; Turner, Rhiannon N.; Yáñez de la Cruz, María Sol

Meaningless gestures or pathway to healing and reconciliation? Comparing the perspectives on political apologies in victim and non‐victim communities in El Salvador, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom Thumbnail


Authors

Juliette Schaafsma

Marieke Zoodsma

Ha Jung Cho

Iwan Dinnick

Jimin Kim

Masi Noor

Rhiannon N. Turner

María Sol Yáñez de la Cruz



Abstract

Political apologies have been theorized to play an important role in healing and reconciliation processes in post-conflict settings. Whether they actually fulfil this function, however, remains unclear as the voices and perspectives of victim communities have largely been underrepresented in research. To address this, we examined the role of apologies that were offered for the El Mozote massacre (El Salvador), the Jeju 4.3 massacres (Republic of Korea) and Bloody Sunday (United Kingdom), according to members of these communities and the broader public. Although we anticipated that victim community members should find the apology more valuable and meaningful and should, therefore, be more positive about its role in healing and reconciliation processes, we found that this varies across countries. This variation could be explained by people's trust in the country's institutions. Across the samples, we found that the apology was seen as a relatively important gesture. For the apology to be perceived as impactful, however, it had to be seen as a meaningful (i.e. sincere) gesture. Our findings suggest that apologies have a role to play in the aftermath of human rights violations, but that it is essential to take the broader context into account.

Citation

Sagherian‐Dickey, T., Schaafsma, J., Zoodsma, M., Cho, H. J., Dinnick, I., Kim, J., …Yáñez de la Cruz, M. S. (2023). Meaningless gestures or pathway to healing and reconciliation? Comparing the perspectives on political apologies in victim and non‐victim communities in El Salvador, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom. British Journal of Social Psychology, 62(1), 414-430. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12556

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 14, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 1, 2022
Publication Date 2023-01
Deposit Date Jul 26, 2022
Publicly Available Date Mar 14, 2023
Journal British Journal of Social Psychology
Print ISSN 0144-6665
Electronic ISSN 2044-8309
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 62
Issue 1
Pages 414-430
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12556

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Publisher Licence URL
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Copyright Statement
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.





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