Meet Natán Skigin, 2021 APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grantee

The American Political Science Association is pleased to announce the Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) Awardees for 2021. The APSA DDRIG program provides support to enhance and improve the conduct of doctoral dissertation research in political science. Awards support basic research which is theoretically derived and empirically oriented.

Natan Skigin, University of Notre Dame

Natán Skigin is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests lie at the intersection of criminal violence, political psychology, and intergroup conflict, with a regional focus on Latin America. His dissertation, “The Political Psychology of Criminal Violence and Solidarity with Victims,” uses experiments and field research to understand the causes of out-group discrimination and prejudice in violent societies, primarily in Mexico’s Drug War. In crime-ridden settings, hostility toward victims of human rights abuses is often rooted in the (mis)perception that targets are also involved in criminal activities, although data from multiple sources do not support this belief. This misperception widely stigmatizes victims of forced disappearance, torture, and internally displaced people, among others.

This project integrates and contributes to the literatures on prejudice and crime reduction by examining novel theoretical insights that explain animosity toward victims and empirical interventions for increasing solidarity, including donations, volunteering, and positive attitudes. From a policy perspective, probing which strategies and narratives are more effective at promoting prosocial behaviors will help human rights organizations design more effective campaigns in settings rife with criminal violence. In addition to benefiting NGOs and victims directly, combating stigma can strengthen accountability mechanisms and impose constraints on state repression by intensifying public scrutiny of elected authorities and security forces. While many security reforms to build trust in the police and reduce crime have largely failed, reducing hostility toward victims may help implement successful public safety strategies. Prior to coming to the United States, Natán studied in Argentina: he received an M.A. in Political Science from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella and a B.A. in Political Science from Universidad de Buenos Aires.