Memories of wrongdoings are often viewed as an obstacle to reconciliation in divided societies. Is it due to the past or the present politics of the past? To examine the dilemma of essentialism versus presentism, this article investigates the impact of transitional justice on memories of wrongdoing. It theorizes that using different transitional justice strategies to deal with the same wrongdoing shapes memories in different ways. The theory is tested via vignette-based surveys in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, which adopted distinct lustration laws. The results show that wrongdoing is viewed through lustration laws, reflecting present power constellations, not history.
Copyright © The Author(s). Published by Government and Opposition Limited and Cambridge University Press 2013
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