Moral emotions and the politics of blame and credit during transitional justice moments

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This article critically examines how moral emotions are intrinsically tied to the process of apportioning blame and credit in post-conflict societies. In doing so, it draws out the complexity that underpins moral emotions during key junctures in transitional justice. Recognising that moral emotions naturally stem from the making of a judgement about a ‘target’, the article argues that the relationship between those experiencing the moral emotion and the ‘target’ fundamentally determines whether the ‘target’ becomes the object of blame or credit during seminal moments of transition. Through using a focused empirical case study, the article identifies why and how changes over time in the relationships between the ‘judgemental self’ and the ‘target’, in personal and political identities, and in perceptions of what is and is not moral influences the moral emotions expressed by different versions of the ‘judgemental self’ towards the ‘target’.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Transitional Justice
Early online date29 Nov 2018
Publication statusEarly online date - 29 Nov 2018


  • moral emotions
  • victims
  • spoilers
  • Northern Ireland
  • transitional justice


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