To Punish or to Pardon? Attitudes Towards Justice and Reintegration for Europeans who Cooperated with the Islamic State
In April 2020, GLD Senior Research Fellow Kristen Kao (Principal Investigator) and Professor Peter Esaiasson (University of Gothenburg) were awarded 66,000 SEK (approx. 7,500 USD) by Lundgrens Vetenskapsfond to study the return of Islamic State collaborators to Europe. The project will run from 2020-2021.
Thousands of European citizens who travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) now seek repatriation and reintegration into their home communities. This project seeks to understand the conditions under which Europeans will accept the return of compatriot IS collaborators into their communities. How does variation in the social identity of an IS collaborator (e.g. gender, age) or the type of collaboration (e.g. combat, marriage to a fighter, or employment in a civilian job) affect prospects for reintegration? Can state-imposed punishments or rehabilitative measures contribute to reconciliation? Or should these transgressions result in the loss of citizenship for these Europeans, as some policymakers are promoting? Moreover, once the state decides to impose a punishment, how do injustice gaps between what a person perceives as appropriate and what the state decides affect desires for retribution and state legitimacy?
This project develops a theoretical framework integrating political theories of state legitimacy with psychological theories of (in)justice, retribution, and forgiveness. To test this framework, we will run Facebook surveys in Sweden with embedded conjoint experiments. The study includes a sample of 1500 Swedish-speaking and 1500 Arabic-speaking inhabitants of Sweden in order to allow for examination of variations across older versus newer residents of Europe. In this age of international terrorism, this project provides policymakers with information to help create safe, secure, and inclusive societies, with broader implications for others accused of criminal behaviours and the legitimacy of the state.
Kristen Kao, “Attitudes Towards Justice and Reintegration for Europeans who Cooperated with the Islamic State” Gothenburg Research Group on Elections, Public Opinion and Political Behavior (GEPOP), University of Gothenburg, Online, November 13, 2020.
Kristen Kao, "To Punish or to Pardon? Attitudes Towards Justice and Reintegration for Europeans Who Cooperated with the Islamic State," Development Economics Seminar Series in the Department of Economics at the University of Gothenburg, April 8, 2021.