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Mobilizing memories: The social conditions of the long-term impact of victimization

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2021-05-01
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SAGE Publications
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Recent research has focused on the legacies of civil war violence on political preferences, finding that wartime victimization decreases support for the perpetrator or its political identity in the long run. However, we know little about the conditions under which this effect takes place. Historical accounts from civil wars suggest that the long-term effect of violence is not homogenous, nor consistent across areas within a single conflict. Addressing this gap, this article explores the effects of wartime victimization on long-term political preferences at the local level, looking at the conditioning effect of the local social context. In particular, I argue that the effect of wartime violence depends on the existence of local networks that create and maintain memories of the violence and capitalize on them for future mobilization. This argument is tested in the context of the Spanish Civil War. I build a novel dataset using archival data, historical secondary sources, and already existing datasets, covering 2,100 municipalities across Spain. In line with the argument, it is found that Francoist wartime victimization during the civil war is linked to an increase in leftist vote share after democracy was restored four decades later, but mainly in those municipalities where clandestine, left-leaning political networks were active after the conflict.
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Civil war, Legacies, Political violence, Spain
Bibliographic citation
Villamil, F. (2021). Mobilizing memories: The social conditions of the long-term impact of victimization. Journal of Peace Research, 58(3), 399–416.