What is Genocide?

What is Genocide?

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In this intellectually and politically potent new book, Martin Shaw proposes a way through the confusion surrounding the idea of genocide. He considers the origins and development of the concept and its relationships to other forms of political violence. Offering a radical critique of the existing literature on genocide, Shaw argues that what distinguishes genocide from more legitimate warfare is that the enemies targeted are groups and individuals of a civilian character. He vividly illustrates his argument from a wide range of historical episodes, and shows how the question 'What is genocide?' matters politically whenever populations are threatened by violence. This compelling book will undoubtedly open up vigorous debate, appealing to students and scholars across the social sciences and in law. Shaw's arguments will be of lasting importance.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Polity Press
  • United Kingdom
  • 1st edition
  • 9780745657516

About Martin Shaw

Martin Shaw, Professor of International Relations and Politics, University of Sussexshow more

Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgements viii Introduction 1 1 The Sociological Crime Social classification and genocide 3 Studying genocide? 4 Disciplining the study of genocide 6 Sociology and the sociological crime 9 Revisiting concepts and classification 11 Part I Contradictions of Genocide Theory 15 2 Neglected Foundations Genocide as social destruction and its connections with war 17 Lemkin's sociological framework 18 Genocide and the laws of war 23 Separation of genocide from war 26 Narrowing genocide to physical destruction 28 Conclusion 33 3 The Maximal Standard The significance of the Holocaust 37 Holocaust `uniqueness' 38 The Holocaust standard in comparative study 42 Holocausts and genocides 45 4 The Minimal Euphemism The substitution of `ethnic cleansing' for genocide 48 Origins of `cleansing' terminology 48 `Cleansing' and genocide 50 `Non-genocidal' expulsions? 54 Peaceful, legal `transfers' and `exchanges'? 58 The territorial dimension 61 5 Conceptual Proliferation The many `-cides' of genocide 63 New frameworks: murderous cleansing and democide 63 Ethnocide and cultural genocide 65 Gendercide 67 Politicide 69 Classicide 72 Urbicide 75 Auto-genocide 76 Genocide as a framework 77 Part II Sociology of Genocide 79 6 From Intentionality to a Structural Concept Social action, social relations and conflict 81 Intention in the light of a sociology of action 82 Limits of intentionality 89 Social relations and a structure of conflict 93 7 Elements of Genocidal Conflict 97 Social groups, social destruction and war 97 Social groups in genocide 97 The destruction of groups 105 Genocide as war 109 8 The Missing Concept The civilian category and its social meaning 113 The civilian enemy 114 Civilians in international law 117 Social production of civilians 122 Civilians, combatants and social stratification 127 Civilian resistance and genocidal war 129 9 Explanations From modernity to warfare 131 Types of genocide 132 Modernity 133 Culture and psychology 137 Economy 139 Politics 140 Warfare 145 Domestic and international 148 Conclusion 151 10 The Relevance of Conceptual Analysis Genocide in twenty-first-century politics 153 A new definition 154 New historic conditions for genocide? 157 Contemporary challenge: the case of Darfur 162 Notes 172 References and Bibliography 196 Index 209show more

Review quote

"This book is rigorous and robust and puts forth a compelling case ... Shaw's idea of genocide as a form of warfare is rich, compelling and important." Alex J. Bellamy, International Affairs "Its contribution as a text that might be useful pedagogically is beyond question." British Journal of Sociology "Martin Shaw argues that genocide studies have mistakenly focused on the intentions of the perpetrators and the identities of the victims rather than on the structure of conflict situations. He wants us to return closer to Raphael Lemkin's original definition of genocide, which focused on attacks by the armed on the unarmed. Genocide, Shaw says, is a form of war directed against civilians. Whether we will all agree on how to define terms like 'genocide' or 'ethnic cleansing', his book is a model of conceptual clarity and cogent argument, a valuable addition to the literature, greatly assisting our understanding of genocide." Michael Mann, University of California, Los Angeles "By re-examining the sources of the genocide concept in the thought of its inventor, Raphael Lemkin, in light of classical and contemporary social theory, Martin Shaw is able to correct the cumulative distortions in definition and analysis of earlier practitioners of 'genocide studies', thereby making genocide a viable category with which to understand perhaps the most disturbing aspects of the past and present world. Scholars in the field will welcome his intelligent discussion of the issues even where they may differ in emphasis." Dirk Moses, University of Sydney Martin Shaw, Professor of International Relations and Politics, University of Sussexshow more

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4 50% (9)
3 17% (3)
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