The effect of social categorization and Holocaust salience on forgiveness and collective guilt assignment / by Michael J.A. Wohl.
I address the different meanings of forgiveness and guilt assignment to harm perpetrators at the interpersonal, intergroup, and human levels of categorization. First, I suggest that willingness to forgive others and judgments of guilt are determined primarily by how the self and the other are categorized. In studies 1 and 2, Jewish Americans were asked about the extent to which they assign collective guilt to contemporary Germans for the Holocaust and the extent to which they forgive contemporary Germans for the horrors of Nazi Germany. In line with self-categorization theory (Turner, Hogg, Oaks, Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987), when human identity was salient Jews assigned more collective guilt to contemporary Germans and were more willing to forgive contemporary Germans, than when Jews' social identity was salient. In Studies 3 and 4, I tested the hypothesis that reminding a historically victimized group (i.e., Jews) with their victimization (i.e., the Holocaust) would influence willingness to forgiveness and judgments of guilt for actions taken during a contemporary conflict (i.e., Palestinian-Israeli conflict). Data from these studies confirmed the detrimental impact that reminders of historical victimization have on perceptions of contemporary conflicts. Discussion focuses on obstacles that are likely to be encountered on the road to reconciliation between historically victimized and perpetrating social groups.
Record last modified: 2018-05-25 09:44:00
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