ABSTRACT. This paper examines beliefs about the past across ethnic groups in conflict ridden Northern Iraq, and the extent to which such beliefs are associated with interethnic trust and political trust. Using individual-level survey data (N=1,440) collected in 2010 and 2011 in the cities of Erbil and Kirkuk, our quantitative analyses show that beliefs about the past are strongly structured by ethnicity, but that the ethnic composition of friendship networks is an important moderating factor. We tended to find stronger group-specific uniformities in beliefs in the more violent and polarized Kirkuk, where group boundaries are more pronounced both in a cultural and a structural sense. Our results also indicate that beliefs about the past play a significant role in interethnic trust as beliefs about the past connected to particular ethnic groups are often associated with trust in these groups. Beliefs about the past are also shown to be associated with trust in political institutions. pp. 128–175

Keywords: belief; past; ethnic boundary; trust; Northern Iraq

How to cite: Rydgren, Jens, Dana Sofi, and Martin Hällsten (2017), “Divided by Memories? Beliefs about the Past, Ethnic Boundaries, and Trust in Northern Iraq,” Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 9(1): 128–175.

Received 19 August 2016 • Received in revised form 5 September 2016
Accepted 6 September 2016 • Available online 25 September 2016


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Department of Sociology,
Stockholm University
(corresponding author)
Department of Sociology,
Stockholm University
Department of Sociology,
Stockholm University

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