Through the lens of history: The effects of beliefs about historical victimization on responses to refugees

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Abstract

In societies with collective memories of their group's historical victimization, perceptions of this victimization are linked to attitudes and behaviors towards present-day victim groups such as refugees. We examine this idea in the Hungarian context, where collective memories of historical victimization include the fate of Hungarian refugees in 1956. In surveys among two Hungarian community samples, we find support for the hypothesis that exclusive regional victim consciousness predicts support for anti-refugee policies, while inclusive regional victim consciousness predicts support for pro-refugee policies. In Study 2, we replicate and extend these findings with a novel measure of event-specific victim consciousness (i.e., historical analogies between the two refugee situations). We show that event-specific victim consciousness mediates the effects of regional victim consciousness on attitudes towards refugees, and predicts prosocial behavior towards refugees.

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Szabó, Z. P., Vollhardt, J. R., & Mészáros, N. Z. (2020). Through the lens of history: The effects of beliefs about historical victimization on responses to refugees. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 74, 94–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2019.10.009

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