chapter  7
13 Pages

Framing reparation claims for crimes against humanity: a social psychological perspective


Crimes against humanity are acts of serious, widespread and systematic harm. Given their heinous nature, it seems people should unquestionably support reparations for such harms. Yet obtaining reparations for crimes against humanity can be difficult. Though most members of the public are usually willing to acknowledge at least some degree of wrongdoing, reparation campaigns are frequently met with indifference and sometimes actively opposed (Brooks 1999). In this chapter, we first describe how social psychologists aim to understand the causes of support for reparations; we then discuss the key theories (just world, system justification, and social identity) that organize much of social psychological research on reactions to intergroup harm and reparations. Finally, we provide suggestions for the design of reparation campaigns and highlight supporting research, much of it from our own work.