- The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies
- List of Contributors
- Editors' Introduction: Changing Themes in the Study of Genocide
- Raphael Lemkin, Culture, and the Concept of Genocide
- ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ versus Genocide?
- Gender and Genocide
- The State and Genocide
- Genocide and Memory
- The Law and Genocide
- Sociology and Genocide
- Political Science and Genocide
- Anthropology and Genocide
- Social Psychology and Genocide
- Philosophy and Genocide
- Genocide in the Ancient World
- Early Medieval Europe: The Case of Britain and Ireland
- Central and Late Medieval Europe
- Colonial Latin America
- Rethinking Genocide in North America
- Genocide and Mass Violence in the ‘Heart of Darkness’: Africa in the Colonial Period
- Genocide at the Twilight of the Ottoman Empire
- Mass Deportations, Ethnic Cleansing, and Genocidal Politics in the Later Russian Empire and the USSR
- The Nazi Empire
- Twentieth‐Century China: Ethnic Assimilation and Intergroup Violence
- Political Genocides in Postcolonial Asia
- State‐Sponsored Violence and Secessionist Rebellions in Asia
- National Security Doctrine in Latin America: The Genocide Question
- Genocide and Population Displacement in Post‐Communist Eastern Europe
- Genocidal Warfare in North‐east Africa
- War and Genocide in Africa's Great Lakes since Independence
- The United Nations, the Cold War, and Its Legacy
- Military Intervention
- Punishment as Prevention?: The Politics of Punishing Génocidaires
- From Past to Future: Prospects for Genocide and Its Avoidance in the Twenty‐First Century
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines what purports to be a core standing problem in the explanation of genocide — how to account for the large number of people willing to participate in mass murders. It contends that research in social psychology has already answered the question of ‘perpetrator production’. Recruiting people to be perpetrators proves to be alarmingly easy. In addition, the application of social psychology to genocide has also become entangled in an ongoing moral debate, a debate that focuses on whether an emphasis on the extrinsic predictors of behaviour fits with a sense that people should be held morally and legally responsible for the choices they make. The discussion also argues that social psychology neither casts a pall of inevitability over such events nor provides moral exculpation for those involved.
Paul A. Roth is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California‐Santa Cruz. His publications include Meaning and Method in the Social Sciences (1987) as well as numerous articles on topics ranging from naturalism in epistemology to explanation in history. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Philosophy of History.
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