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War Experiences and Emerging Rights Claims in Postwar Former Yugoslavia: The Role of Generalized Conflict Exposure and Collective Anomie

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European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


--- - |2 Abstract Violent conflicts have often been observed to generate social environments in which human rights violations are more easily tolerated and legitimized. However, recent research has documented cases in which communities exposed to violence react with increased condemnations of human rights violations. In this article, we focus on the distinction between generalized and particularized violence. Our findings show that, in the postwar ex‐Yugoslavia context, when local communities have been exposed to violence that was generalized across different ethno‐national groups, they strongly condemn human rights violations. Multilevel structural equation models show that the relationship between generalized victimization and the condemnation of human rights violations is mediated by a collective sense of anomie. The processes that move from collective exposure to violence to the collective reaffirmation of human rights are more likely to unfold in communities where violence transcended group boundaries than in communities where particular groups were disproportionately affected by the violence. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. - European Journal of Social Psychology, Volume 0, Issue ja, -Not available-.