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Collective victimhood and acknowledgement of outgroup suffering across history: Majority and minority perspectives

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European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


This paper examines how temporally differentiated representations of ingroup victimhood and acknowledgment of outgroup suffering relate to present intergroup attitudes. A mixed‐methods research was conducted in Bulgaria where both the ethnic majority and the Bulgarian Turkish minority can be viewed as victims and perpetrators in the past. Multigroup path models (Study 1) revealed that for the majority (N = 192) collective victimhood was positively related to social distance through reduced forgiveness and through reduced collective guilt for a different historical era. Acknowledgment of outgroup suffering, in turn, was associated with reduced social distance through heightened guilt and through forgiveness for another era. Among the Bulgarian Turks (N = 160), the result pattern differed. Collective victimhood was unrelated to forgiveness. Moreover, the relationship between guilt and social distance was positive. Semi‐directive interviews (Study 2) revealed different meanings attributed to the events by the two groups. The impact of intertwined historical representations on current‐day prejudice is discussed in light of power asymmetry between groups.