The Conflict Research Society congratulates Gabriella Levy, winner of the Cedric Smith Prize 2022. Gabriella is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Duke University and a 2022-23 USIP Peace Scholar Fellow. The Cedric Smith Prize is awarded annually to the best article or thesis chapter in peace and conflict research by a PhD student.
Gabriella’s winning article “Evaluations of Violence at the Polls: Civilian Victimization and Support for Perpetrators after War” is published in the Journal of Politics and examines how ordinary citizens in a post-conflict context evaluate alleged perpetrators of violence against civilians who are running for office. Drawing on the theory of dyadic morality, the author builds a framework to explain how citizens appraise specific candidate traits and behavior. She tests hypotheses derived from the framework through a conjoint survey in Colombia, showing how attributes associated with integrity affect respondent preferences. Her findings indicate that voters are highly attentive to the ethics of civilian victimization but do not see all violence as equally unethical. Understanding these dynamics is important for building a durable peace in post-conflict contexts. Among the attributes that made the article stand out, the Cedric Smith Prize committee highlighted the article’s important theoretical contribution, the sophisticated research design and careful attention to causal inference.
The CRS received 18 excellent submissions for the prize from all over the world. Special mention goes to the following three authors who were shortlisted for the prize: Emmy Lindstam for “Aspirations for National Belonging and Preferences among Marginalized Groups”, Liana Eustacia Reyes for “Rebel and Incumbent Law: How Compatible Legal Preferences Prolong Peace after Power-Sharing”, and Jamie L. Shenk for “Does conflict experience affect participatory democracy after war? Evidence from Colombia”.