The role of ethnic divisions in people’s attitudes toward the death penalty: The case of the Albanians

Ridvan Peshkopia, D. Stephen Voss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Are there specific ethnocultural features that make people support the death penalty, or does support of capital punishment simply reflect people’s position vis-à-vis power? Much of the existing research on this topic has been developed in the absence of an appropriate control group. However, this question can be answered only if ethnonational culture remains constant across different political and socioeconomic settings. In order to achieve such a goal, we focus our research on the Balkans where several social settings fit such a research design; we chose ethnic Albanians as our ethnonational culture of focus. We built a research design that would allow our key independent variable, people’s position in country’s power structure, to vary across three countries: Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro. In each of these three countries, ethnic Albanians are situated in different positions of the sociopolitical power structure, from the absolutely dominant ethnic group in Albania proper; to an embattled ethnic minority in Macedonia; to a tiny, compact, but peaceful ethnic minority in Montenegro. By analyzing data collected via public opinion surveys, we conclude that, indeed, whether respondents belong to a dominant ethnic group or an ethnic minority affects their attitudes toward the death penalty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-630
Number of pages21
JournalPunishment and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.


  • attitudes
  • death penalty
  • ethnic conflict
  • ethnic divisions
  • majority/minority status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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