How are memories of violence and repression reformulated in current policies, and how do these policies shape contemporary political attitudes? My research brings a multi-method approach to study this question.
Balcells, Laia, Valeria Palanza, and Elsa Voytas. Do museums promote reconciliation? A field experiment on transitional justice. 2018. Under review.
Can memorial museums promote post-conflict reconciliation? This project draws on evidence from a field experiment studying the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile to begin to answer this question. We propose that memorial museums present a certain narrative of past events that can both impart knowledge and elicit emotional reactions among their visitors. Our findings suggest that though perceptions of museums vary along ideological lines, visiting them alters political attitudes related to issues documented in the museum. After visiting, we find that Chilean university students have greater support for democratic institutions, are more likely to reject institutions associated with the repressive period, and are more likely to approve of restorative transitional justice policies. Our findings suggest that memorial museums can support processes of reconciliation by influencing the political attitudes of visitors but that most changes in political beliefs wane over time.
Works in Progress
Voytas, Elsa. What factors predict a donor’s aid transparency? On the First Tranche. AidData. 2013. http://aiddata.org/blog/what-factors-predict-a-donors-aid-transparency
Voytas, Elsa. What can photos of garbage tell us about foreign aid? On the First Tranche. AidData. 2013. http://aiddata.org/blog/what-can-photos-of-garbage-tell-us-about-foreign-aid