- 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 explores the connection between the state and genocide. It argues that no form of mass violence, and least of all genocide, erupts spontaneously. It requires premeditation, usually by a government with a record of gross human rights violations. Indeed, the discussion contends that genocide is intricately linked to the idea of the modern state, despite a body of scholarship that questions that link. Non-state agents such as radical political parties or armed militias are usually incorporated into the governing structure and therefore rarely perform on their own. The state may deliberately use them as proxies to obscure the decision-making process and thus to shift responsibility for the crimes committed. Even though the ruling body may not always emphasize state interests in genocide, the painstaking reconstruction of the chain of command, where possible, inevitably points to the upper echelons of power as the original source of mass violence.
Anton Weiss‐Wendt is Head of the Research Department at the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Oslo, Norway. His publications include Murder without Hatred: Estonians and the Holocaust (2009); ‘Problems in Comparative Genocide Scholarship’, in Dan Stone (ed.), The Historiography of Genocide (2008); and ‘Extermination of the Gypsies in Estonia during World War II’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies 17:1 (2003).
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