Between Remembering and Forgetting the Years of Political Violence: Psychosocial Impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Peru

Agustín Espinosa, Darío Páez, Tesania Velázquez, Rosa María Cueto, Evelyn Seminario, Salvador Sandoval, Félix Reátegui, Iris Jave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article analyzes the association between knowledge of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), evaluation of TRC's achievements, experience of victimization, attitudes toward remembering and forgetting past political violence, perceptions of socioemotional climate (SEC), belief in forgiveness and attitudes toward violence in Peru based on a study conducted in three Peruvian cities with different rates of victimization due to political violence during 1980–2000 (n = 1200). Results showed that a positive attitude toward remembering the past of political violence was predominant and related to a positive evaluation of TRC's achievements. Attitude toward remembering also has an ambivalent collective effect increasing both positive and negative SECs, and it is less accepted by victims of political violence. On the other hand, attitude toward forgetting is less accepted by participants, and it also has an ambivalent effect by increasing positive and negative SECs. Attitude toward forgetting has more societal costs, since it is related to attitudes toward violence and decreased knowledge and a positive evaluation of TRC. In general, findings suggest that remembering traumatic events has an emotional cost, but also it is shown that remembering seems to be more beneficial for society in the long-term than forgetting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-866
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Psychology
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • attitude toward forgetting
  • attitude toward remembering
  • belief in forgiveness
  • political violence
  • socioemotional climate

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