[PAST EVENT] "Transitional Justice and Support for Democracy. Evidence from Post-war West Germany"

April 12, 2017
12pm - 1:30pm
Chancellors Hall (formerly Tyler Hall), Room 322
300 James Blair Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location

Professor Capoccia presents his paper on the impact of the implementation of transitional justice (TJ) policies on individual democratic attitudes in West Germany after 1945. Building on the social psychology literature on punishment in criminal justice, the paper argues that attitudes toward democracy are primarily driven by the outcomes rather than by the formal characteristics of TJ policies, and particularly by the perceived proportionality of punishment. In the German case, widespread uncertainty about the guilt of defendants in TJ trials led the general public to consider lenient punishment more legitimate, whereas more widespread harsh punishment undermined democratic support. Compared to the general public, democratic attitudes of TJ targets were instead promoted by both more widespread lenient and harsh punishments. The analysis of three national surveys conducted during the 1950s shows that these effects persist in the medium term. These findings point to the importance of a more systematic analysis of TJ outcomes in comparative research on the consequences of TJ policies.

Lunch is included and RSVP is required. Please contact Kendra Williams 757-221-3020 or kpwilliams@wm.edu

Prof. Capoccia is the holder of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2014-2017). He has held a British Academy Senior Research Fellowship, and has been the Rita E. Hauser Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, a Visiting Scholar at the Max-Planck Institute for Comparative Law in Heidelberg, and at the Center for European Studies at Harvard.


Kendra Williams 757-221-3020 or [[kpwilliams]]