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The Legacy of Political Violence across Generations

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Does political violence leave a lasting legacy on identities, attitudes, and behaviors? We argue that violence shapes the identities of victims and that families transmit these effects across generations. Inherited identities then impact the contemporary attitudes and behaviors of the descendants of victims. Testing these hypotheses is fraught with methodological challenges; to overcome them, we study the deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 and the indiscriminate way deportees died from starvation and disease. We conducted a multigenerational survey of Crimean Tatars in 2014 and find that the descendants of individuals who suffered more intensely identify more strongly with their ethnic group, support more strongly the Crimean Tatar political leadership, hold more hostile attitudes toward Russia, and participate more in politics. But we find that victimization has no lasting effect on religious radicalization. We also provide evidence that identities are passed down from the victims of the deportation to their descendants.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2017

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