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The purpose of this article is to use Lonnie Athens’ violentization theory to explain the Bosnian and Rwandan genocides. These two case studies are used to compare and contrast how the brutalization, defiance, violent dominance engagements, and virulency stages emerged prior to and during the genocides. Using published texts such as interviews with perpetrators, human rights reports, and court transcripts, qualitative content analysis is employed to test the fit between violentization theory and the two case studies. The results demonstrate that violentization theory is consistent with the data and provides an explanation of how the genocides developed and were enacted. Similarities and differences between Rwanda and Bosnia are described to explain how the perpetrators went through the violentization process, and an additional stage is added to illustrate extreme violence. Suggestions for further research using this model are provided.
Homicide Studies
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/1088767911424538
2011 15: 363Homicide Studies
Mark A. Winton
Violentization Theory and Genocide
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Homicide Studies
15(4) 363 –381
© 2011 SAGE Publications
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DOI: 10.1177/1088767911424538
7911424538WintonHomicide Studies
University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA
Corresponding Author:
Mark A. Winton, Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, P.O. Box 161600,
University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816–1600, USA
Violentization Theory
and Genocide
Mark A. Winton
The purpose of this article is to use Lonnie Athens’ violentization theory to explain
the Bosnian and Rwandan genocides. These two case studies are used to compare
and contrast how the brutalization, defiance, violent dominance engagements, and
virulency stages emerged prior to and during the genocides. Using published texts
such as interviews with perpetrators, human rights reports, and court transcripts,
qualitative content analysis is employed to test the fit between violentization theory
and the two case studies. The results demonstrate that violentization theory is
consistent with the data and provides an explanation of how the genocides developed
and were enacted. Similarities and differences between Rwanda and Bosnia are
described to explain how the perpetrators went through the violentization process,
and an additional stage is added to illustrate extreme violence. Suggestions for further
research using this model are provided.
genocide, violentization theory, Rwanda, Bosnia, Serbia
Hagan and Rymond-Richmond (2009) pointed out that the criminology of genocide
is still in its infancy and despite having a rich history of research on conflict and state
crimes; criminologists and sociologists have tended to avoid applying such research
to genocide. Focusing on Sudan, they demonstrated that criminologists can empiri-
cally show how race and other factors mobilized the Sudanese government and their
associates to dehumanize the victims and to engage in mass rape, torture, and killing.
They asserted that criminologists can take part in the important role of gathering data
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364 Homicide Studies 15(4)
for use in criminal prosecution of the perpetrators by providing information on the
extent of destruction, the racial nature of the genocide, the dehumanization process,
and the government role in promoting the genocide. Hagan, Rymond-Richmond, and
Parker (2005) explained that “modern criminology possesses the theory and methods
to document, describe, analyze, and explain ‘the crime of crimes’ and other important
violations of international criminal law. The denial and neglect of these crimes in
modern criminology itself needs explanation” (p. 556).
This neglect is partly related to methodological and theoretical limitations due to
current criminal justice theories and research failing to explain genocide (Day &
Vandiver, 2000; Winton, 2008; Yacoubian, 2000). For example, problems explaining
the scale of the atrocities and intent of the perpetrators may discourage criminologists
to take on the task of studying genocide (Hagan & Rymond-Richmond, 2009). In addi-
tion, Maier-Katkin, Mears, and Bernard (2009) also concluded that criminologists are
concerned that their theories may fail to explain genocide, worried about the political
ramifications of conducting genocide research, and unclear if studying such uncharted
domains could reduce their chance for tenure. With little interdisciplinary integration
and lack of interest in addressing genocide, some may find it difficult to obtain fund-
ing. Others may have difficulty attaching the study of genocide to their specific spe-
cialization area within their discipline.
Following the lead of Hagan and Rymond-Richmond (2009), a criminological and
sociological model of genocide is presented that will add to the literature on under-
standing and preventing genocide. Specifically, the goal of this research is to apply
Lonnie Athens’ violentization theory to explain the evolution of the Rwandan and
Bosnian genocides. Perpetrator and victim accounts will be examined to see how they
fit with violentization theory.
Winton (2008) and Winton and Unlu (2008) addressed each of these genocides
independently using violentization theory and a model from family therapy. For this
study, qualitative comparative case study analysis is conducted using some of the
same data sets from Winton (2008) and Winton and Unlu (2008) in a new way by
comparing and contrasting the genocides using violentization theory alone.
Lonnie Athens’ Theory of Violentization
Although violentization theory has been successfully applied to genocide in separate
cases (Rhodes, 2002; Spohn, 2008a, 2000b; Winton, 2008; Winton & Unlu, 2008),
cross genocide comparisons have not previously been addressed using violentization
theory (see Ulmer, 2003).
Using symbolic interactionist theory, Athens focused attention on the self-image,
symbols, social interaction, role taking, and actors’ interpretations of interactions with
others (Blumer, 1969; Charon, 1989; Longmore, 1998; Mead, 1977). The main focus
of symbolic interactionism is on the self, act, social interaction, objects, and joint
action (Blumer, 1969). The self is a product of one’s social interaction with one’s family,
peers, and community. Thus, Athens (2010) suggested that we focus on the interpretations
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of situations in which the crime occurred, the perpetrator’s self-image during their
offense, and their self-image throughout their criminal careers.
Athens (1992, 1997, 2003) developed violentization theory to explain how people
become violent criminals. According to Athens (2003), violent criminals go through
four stages of the violentization process. Winton and Unlu (2008) outlined these stages
as follows:
Brutalization—This stage occurs when one is taught how to engage in violent
behavior through observation and demonstration (Athens, 1992, 1997, 2003).
Athens (2003) breaks this stage into three types of experiences: violent sub-
jugation, personal horrification, and violent coaching. In cases of genocide,
actors may be physically assaulted, threatened, observe others being threat-
ened or assaulted, and coached on how to carry out violent behavior. In both
cases of genocide, civil wars were occurring leading a large segment of the
population to be exposed to different dimensions of brutalization. Both per-
petrator groups also brought up previous victimization. Genocide was com-
mitted by the Croats against the Serbs during World War II, while the Tutsi
committed genocide against the Hutu in 1972 in neighboring Burundi. Bring-
ing these previous victimizations into the current situation provided the bru-
talization that was used to encourage the current genocides. Bringing up these
historical cases of victimization allowed the perpetrator group to encourage
others to become alarmed that they could be brutalized again if they did not
take action.
Defiance—In this stage, a belief system is presented to the individual or
group that is supportive of the use of violent behavior (Athens, 1992, 1997,
2003). In cases of genocide, perpetrators reinforce through a variety of meth-
ods that violence is justified. Perpetrators may convince brutalized actors
that they must behave violently to protect themselves from violent others.
Violence is viewed as a means to control and dominate a threatening group.
Violent dominance engagements—This stage involves engaging in violent
acts (Athens, 1992, 1997, 2003). The perpetrators present a violent support-
ive belief system that encourages the use of violence toward others. In some
cases, the actor may be punished for failing to behave violently. Actors who
have gone through the brutalization and defiance stages test out their violent
behaviors on subordinates. In the two case studies, small and large group
violence was carried out in various settings prior to the genocides. As Athens
(2003) points out, “as important as the operating circumstances surround-
ing a violent dominance engagement is its immediate outcome” (p. 13). In
both cases, perpetrators were encouraged and sometimes forced to engage in
violent behaviors. They were rewarded for behaving violently with positive
comments from peers, celebrations from the community, material posses-
sions, sex, and the reduced risk of being a victim of violence.
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Virulency—This stage is completed when the individual or group define
themselves as violent and dangerous (Athens, 1992, 1997, 2003). In both
case studies, individuals and groups defined themselves as violent and dan-
gerous and instilled high levels of fear in others. The perpetrators are viewed
as violent and have a violent self-image. They use violence to gain control of
others, obtain respect, instill fear, and make others feel powerless, shamed,
and humiliated. In contrast, the perpetrators are able to avoid these feelings.
Extreme virulency—This stage was added to the four stages of the violentiza-
tion model to include extreme violent behavior such as torture, mutilation of
bodies, and sexual slavery (Winton, 2008).
Lonnie Athens’ did not intend for his theory to explain genocide although Rhodes
(2002) believed that Athens’ theories do address war and genocide and has provided
a detailed analysis of the application of violentization theory to the Nazi Einsatzgruppen
(police battalions). In both Rwandan and Bosnian genocides, civil wars were occur-
ring and military, paramilitary, and ordinary citizens were involved in the killings.
Athens (1997) pointed out that “it is the members of our community with violent
generalized others who are at the heart of our violent crime problem” (pp. 99-100).
Athens’ later replaced Mead’s generalized other concept with the phantom other and
phantom community to focus on the specific agents of socialization and reference that
people carry with them wherever they are located. The genocidal perpetrators go
through the violentization process, although they do not have to go through all of the
stages to engage in violent behavior. However, the ultraviolent perpetrators will com-
plete the virulency stage.
Within this model, Athens identified the phantom community that “provides people
with a multi but unified voice and sounding board for making sense of their varied social
experiences” (Athens, 1994, p. 526). This concept focuses on the internal dialogue that
individuals use to construct their interpretations of situations and their behavioral
responses. The phantom community allows perpetrators to define their violence as legit-
imate. In violent communities, phantom others permeate the social setting while allow-
ing violent individuals to refer to them as guides for violent behavior.
Athens explained how the self-image can change as the phantom others and com-
munities change. According to Athens (1994), “the self’s fluidity must be seen as
arising from our ever-changing soliloquies; while its constancy must be seen as com-
ing from the stability of the ‘other’ with whom we soliloquize” (p. 524). Furthermore,
Athens (2010) differentiated between perpetrators with violent self-images that have
an unmitigated violent phantom community that fully supports violence, perpetrators
with incipiently violent self-images that have a mitigated violent phantom community
that partially supports violence, and perpetrators with nonviolent self-images that have
a nonviolent phantom community. The last category would include those who engage
in violence as a self-defense tactic.
Athens (2010) explained that there are four types of interpretations and associated
primary emotions related to violence. First, physically defensive interpretations are
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fear based and focus on how a physical attack is or will be made. Second, frustrative
interpretations are anger based in which the actor sees resistance and action he or she
does not want carried out. Third, malefic interpretations are based on hatred in which
the actor sees the negative character of others and uses violent responses. Finally, the
frustrative-malefic interpretation is based on hatred and anger. According to Athens,
The perpetrator forms this violent plan of action because he sees violence as the
most appropriate way to deal with an evil or malicious person’s potential or
attempted blockage of the larger act that he seeks to carry out or as the most
appropriate way to block the larger act that an evil or malicious person wants to
carry out. (p. 108)
According to Rhodes (1999), professional organizations (e.g., military and law
enforcement) have to limit the amount and type of violence that is permissible. This
allows us to differentiate legal wartime violence and criminal behavior. Rhodes stated,
“limiting soldiers to physically defensive violence limits the degree of advancing viru-
lency the men must undergo. This limit allows them to sustain a nonviolent phantom
community they can take back home” (1999, p. 296).
In discussing military basic training, Rhodes (1999) stated that
Military organizations encourage recruits to revise their phantom communities
to incorporate military phantom companions partly to recreate the deep, basic
trust that most people feel toward at least some members of their family-trust
then put to use to mobilize action in battle. (p. 289)
Thus these phantom companions and communities become the perpetrator’s pri-
mary group. In this case study, we will use this model while focusing on genocidal
communities and companions. These phantom communities and companions present
“unmitigated violent phantom communities that support taking pure malefic and frus-
trative violent actions” (Rhodes, 1999, p. 301). This can lead to extreme virulency.
Bridging this line of thought to genocide, it becomes apparent that there exists
genocidal others that help to create the genocidal community. The genocidal others
and genocidal communities are the people and groups that an individual has in his or
her mind that they converse with and organize and negotiate their actions (Rhodes,
1999). In other words, the community becomes a point of departure for members to
develop a genocidal self-image, although the perpetrators may define themselves in
many different ways. It appears that perpetrators may have multiple phantom com-
munities operating simultaneously in a genocidal context, although one phantom com-
munity becomes dominant at one particular moment. Although there may be conflicts
between these phantom others and communities, there are methods to decrease or
overcome the dissonance.
The violentization process allows socially defined targets to develop in which the
perpetrators may engage in extreme violent behavior with the knowledge and support
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of their genocidal community. The genocidal other promotes, encourages, and some-
times forces others to take on the genocidal self-image.
In addition, Athens (2003) also considered three different types of communities. The
civil minor community members tend to use nonviolent strategies to resolve conflicts.
The turbulent minor community is composed of members who use both violent and
nonviolent strategies to resolve conflict. The malignant minor community is made up of
members who live in a chaotic environment in which ultraviolent behavior is used to
resolve conflict. Clearly, the genocidal community is a malignant minor community.
Violentization theory provides us with a dynamic and developmental approach that
addresses genocidal behaviors. This approach may be applied to individuals, families,
organizations, communities, and states and may be used to explain various types of
violence between different groups, during different times, and residing in different
locations (Winton, 2008; Winton & Unlu, 2008).
Data Sources
These two genocides were selected due to the availability of extensive documentation
of perpetrator and victim accounts and the availability of court transcripts. The main
sources of data were from Winton (2008) and Winton and Unlu (2008) who used court
documents from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and
the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. For this study, case summaries from
the trials were reviewed and six court cases were selected and coded involving 15
perpetrators. These cases were chosen based on the detailed information on violent
behaviors carried out by the perpetrators.
The Rwandan prisoner interviews conducted by Hatzfeld (2003) were especially help-
ful in the analysis of perpetrator explanations of the genocide. Hatzfeld provided exten-
sive interviews of 10 men who were incarcerated in Rwanda due to their participation in
the 1994 genocide. This also was the main data source used in Winton’s (2008) study.
Data Analysis
Directed qualitative content analysis was used to code text and identify violentization
themes and patterns (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005; Winton, 2008). The directed qualitative
content analysis approach involved using a theoretically informed coding scheme that
was constructed prior to the analysis of the data. Specifically, the violentization stages
coding scheme from Winton (2008) and Winton and Unlu (2008) was used. First, the
original data used by Winton (2008) and Winton and Unlu (2008) were reread and
coded using the stages of violentization. Second, a comparative matrix was developed
to organize the themes and patterns related to each stage in the violentization process
(Winton, 2008). Perpetrator and witness statements were compared and contrasted
regarding how the genocides were organized, how the perpetrators killed, tortured,
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and raped, and how the perpetrators explained and reacted to their violent behavior.
The violentization process was coded based on indicators of brutalization (e.g.,
reports of witnessing violence), defiance (e.g., statements indicating that it was per-
missible to use violence), dominance violent engagements (e.g., testing out violent
behavior), virulency (e.g., defining oneself as a dangerous and violent person), and
extreme virulency (e.g., engaging in mutilation of bodies). Third, the genocides were
compared and contrasted by examining the coded text for each of the genocides based
on the violentization stages. Finally, an evaluation was conducted to determine how
the data fit with violentization theory.
Brutalization—Witnessing, Learning, and Experiencing Violence
In the brutalization stage, the focus is on how groups are taught to engage in violent
behavior through observation, threats, and explicit teaching. This stage prepares the
perpetrators toward a path to genocide. The perpetrators are taught that they must
defend themselves from an enemy. This begins to set up the “kill or be killed” script
that becomes incorporated into the phantom community.
Both the Rwandan and Bosnian genocides were probably planned years in advance.
Genocidal propaganda was present in both cases. The Rwandan Hutu perpetrator
groups were quick to remind the Hutu citizens that the Tutsi had tried to eradicate
them in Burundi in 1972. Likewise, the Serbian perpetrators brought attention to sev-
eral historical cases of genocidal attempts. For example, the 1940s Croatian genocide
was publicized to give legitimacy to potential threats (Weitz, 2003).
In Rwanda, the political party Mouvement Révolutionnaire National pour le
Développement (MRND) planned for the genocide using brutalization through the
creation of a youth wing called the “Interahamwe” with the primary purpose of teach-
ing the members about Hutu politics and encouraging cohesion and instruction for
attacking the Tutsi (Prosecutor v. Juvenal Kajelijeli, 2003). This was one example of
the “kill or be killed” script carried out in massacres (Winton, 2008). The MRND and
the youth wing became one phantom community for the perpetrators.
The Rwandan prisoner Pio stated,
Me, I don’t know why I started detesting Tutsis. I was young and what I liked
most was soccer: I played on the Kibungo team with Tutsis my own age . . . I
never noticed any unease in their company. Hatred just showed up at killing
time; I latched on to it through imitation, to fit in” (Hatzfeld, 2003, p. 218).
In the above case, the perpetrator did not even realize he was going through the
brutalization stage.
In the Bosnian genocide, preparation for the genocide also occurred through careful
planning by the leaders through the use of brutalization:
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For Serbs their fourteenth century struggle against the Turkish foe, unaided by
other Balkan peoples, serves as a rallying cry for a Greater Serbia. Slobodan
Milosevic, already a powerful political figure in Serbia as a party chief, spoke
at a mass rally at the site of the battlefield itself. He spoke as the protector and
patron of Serbs throughout Yugoslavia and declared that he would not allow
anyone to beat the Serb people. This greatly enhanced his role as the charismatic
leader of the Serb people in each of the Republics, after which he rapidly rose
in power. (Prosecutor v. Dusko Tadic a/k/a “Dule,” 1997, paragraph 72)
Implications. The brutalization stage was apparent in both genocides. Each perpetra-
tor group focused attention on teaching others how to engage in violent behavior
through small scale massacres, threats of victimization, and observation of constructed
threats of violence. Although some threat was based on civil war, civilians were never
a real threat. The perpetrators provided permission to engage in violent behavior as a
preventive measure and a genocidal script was disseminated to the perpetrator group
by various phantom communities.
Defiance—Using Violence to Stop Violence
The defiance stage entails the perpetrator group constructing the belief system that
will support the genocide. In other words, the violent behavior is justified.
For example, in the Rwandan genocide prisoner Elie reported,
The intimidators made the plans and whipped up enthusiasm; the shopkeepers
paid and provided transportation; the farmers prowled and pillaged. For the kill-
ings, though, everybody had to show up blade in hand and pitch in for a decent
stretch of work. (Hatzfeld, 2003, p. 13)
In another case, a Rwandan clergyman was charged with encouraging violent
behavior at his church:
On or about 13 April 1994, the Interahamwe and militiamen surrounding the
parish, launched an attack against the refugees in the church. The refugees
defended themselves by pushing the attackers out of the church, to a place
named “la statue de la Sainte Vierge.” The attackers in turn, threw a grenade
causing many deaths between the refugees. The survivors quickly tried to return
to the Church, but Father Athanase SEROMBA ordered that all doors be closed,
leaving many refugees (about 30) outside to be killed. (Prosecutor v. Athanase
Seromba, 2001, paragraph 15)
In the Bosnian case,
Over time, the propaganda escalated in intensity and began repeatedly to accuse
non-Serbs of being extremists plotting genocide against the Serbs. Periodicals
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from Belgrade featured stories on the remote history of Serbs intended to inspire
nationalistic feelings . . . In articles, announcements, television programmes and
public proclamations, Serbs were told that they needed to protect themselves
from a fundamentalist Muslim threat and must arm themselves and that the
Croats and Muslims were preparing a plan of genocide against them. Broadcasts
from Belgrade caused fear among non-Serbs because only the Serb nation was
presented positively, and it was represented that the JNA supported the Serbs.
The theme that, for the Serbs, the Second World War had not ended was
expressed on television and radio by Vojislav Seselj, Zeljko Raznjatovic, other-
wise known as “Arkan,” and other Serb politicians and leaders. (Prosecutor v.
Dusko Tadic a/k/a “Dule,” 1997, paragraph 91)
Implications. In both cases, the perpetrators were encouraged to become violent to avoid
being victimized. Both of these situations led to the mobilization of citizens who became
ready to engage in violent behavior. Although the Rwandan genocidal leaders appeared
to recruit citizens without a history of violence, the Serbian and Croatian genocidal lead-
ers recruited those who had already demonstrated a propensity toward acting violent,
such as those from the paramilitary or prisons (Mulaj, 2005; Winton, 2008).
Much work was devoted to increasing the strength of the genocidal phantom com-
munities. In addition to encouraging violent acts, the perpetrator groups were able to
gather large support systems who provided aid.
Violent Dominance Engagements—Carrying Out Violent Acts
In the violent dominance engagements stage, the perpetrators engage in various forms
of violent behavior. The brutalization and defiance stages allowed the perpetrators to
justify their violent behaviors and demand that violence is carried out. The perpetra-
tors willingly agree to engage in violence as they have internalized the violentization
script from their phantom communities.
In the Rwandan genocide, prisoner interviews revealed multiple violent dominant
engagement scripts (Hatzfeld, 2003; Straus, 2006; Winton, 2008):
Prisoner Fulgence stated, “First I cracked an old mama’s skull with a club . . . I
went home that evening without even thinking about it” (Hatzfeld, 2003, p. 21) while
prisoner Pio stated,
The first person, “I finished him off in a rush, not thinking anything of it, even
though he was a neighbor, quite close on my hill” (Hatzfeld, 2003, p. 24).
The perpetrators became more violent over time as groups and community support
and permission to behave in violent ways was encouraged and promoted. For exam-
ple, a popular Rwandan newspaper and radio station provided “permission” to engage
in violence. The Hutu 10 Commandments that emphasized that the Tutsi were the
enemy, were published in the Kangura newspaper, stating that the Hutu should pre-
vent the Tutsi from attacking them, and that Tutsi women were dangerous spies. The
newspaper editors even held a competition:
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In Kangura Nos. 58 and 59, published in March 1994, a competition was
launched, consisting of eleven questions, the answers to which were all to be
found in past issues of Kangura. Various points were allocated to correct
answers, and prizes were announced for the winners. Readers were directed to
enter the competition by sending their responses to the questions to RTLM
(Prosecutor v. Ferdinand Nahimana, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, and Hassan
Ngeze, 2003, paragraph 18).
By having a contest, the newspaper readers were encouraged to carefully read the
paper multiple times. A game was presented as an active way to sensitize the public to
anti-Tutsi ideas (Prosecutor v. Ferdinand Nahimana, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, and
Hassan Ngeze, 2003). This is another example of the major newspaper writers becom-
ing a phantom community for the general public. Greater interest in the anti-Tutsi
propaganda was encouraged by creating a competition and instilling fear and hatred to
fuel aggression.
Implications. Comparative analysis demonstrated that leaders gave permission to the
perpetrators to kill. In Rwanda, children and adults were taught how to kill by soldiers
and encouraged to loot from their victims (Jones, 2002; Winton, 2008). In the Bosnian
case, citizens who had got along for many years with the victims prior to the genocide,
joined with the military and engaged in rapes, beatings, and looting (Lieberman, 2006;
Ramet, 2004). In both cases, there were no negative sanctions for killing, while pun-
ishments for protecting the “enemy” or failing to take part in massacres did occur
(Winton, 2008; Winton & Unlu, 2008). It appears that the Bosnian media presented
threats to encourage violence while the Rwandan media presented threats and methods
of carrying out violent behavior against the victims.
Virulency—Violent and Dangerous Selves
In the virulency stage, the perpetrators have successfully defined themselves as vio-
lent and dangerous. The genocidal phantom community has been successfully incor-
porated into individuals and perpetrator groups. According to Rwandan prisoner Elie,
Only young guys, very sturdy and willing, used clubs. The club has no use in
agriculture, but it was better suited to their way of trying to stand out, of strut-
ting in the crowd. Same thing for spears and bows; those who still had them
could find it entertaining to lend them or show them off (Hatzfeld, 2003, p. 37).
The Rwandan perpetrators were greeted by their fellow citizens with support through
parties. In fact, there was community gatherings in which the perpetrators would put on
a show by killing victims to the cheering of their fellow citizens (Winton, 2008).
The following case illustrates the virulency stage among perpetrators in the Bosnian
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Women who were held at Omarska were routinely called out of their rooms at
night and raped. One witness testified that she was taken out five times and
raped and after each rape she was beaten (Prosecutor v. Dusko Tadic a/k/a
“Dule,” 1997, paragraph 165).
The white house was a place of particular horror. One room in it was reserved for
brutal assaults on prisoners, who were often stripped, beaten, and kicked and other-
wise abused. Many died as a result of these repeated assaults on them. Prisoners who
were forced to clean up after these beatings reported finding blood, teeth, and skin of
victims on the floor. Dead bodies of prisoners, lying in heaps on the grass near the
white house, were a not infrequent sight. Those bodies would be thrown out of the
white house and later loaded into trucks and removed from the camp (Prosecutor v.
Dusko Tadic a/k/a “Dule,” 1997, paragraph 166).
The red house was another small building where prisoners were taken to be beaten
and killed. When prisoners were required to clean the red house, they often found hair,
clothes, blood, footwear, and empty pistol cartridges. They also loaded onto trucks
bodies of prisoners who had been beaten and killed in the red house (Prosecutor v.
Dusko Tadic a/k/a “Dule,” 1997, paragraph 167).
Implications. In this situation, we see that those that have already defined themselves
as violent and dangerous are used to encourage others to follow suit. Authorities pro-
vided permission and encouragement to define oneself as a dangerous and violent
person and to act in dangerous and violent ways. Part of this violent behavior also
incorporated various methods of humiliation used to dehumanize the victims.
Extreme Virulency—Torture, Rape, and Mass Murder
A fifth stage was added to Athens’ model to account for aggression involving torture,
mutilation, and other behaviors associated with extreme violence (Winton, 2008).
These behaviors go beyond the virulent type in intensity, severity, and scope and may
be used to account for extreme group violence. Some perpetrators forced females into
sexual slavery (Des Forges, 1999), and the following case illustrates extreme violence
with sexual abuse carried out by members of the Rwandan Interahamwe militia group:
Witness JJ testified that when they arrived at the bureau communal, the women
were hoping the authorities would defend them but she was surprised to the contrary.
In her testimony, she recalled lying in the cultural center, having been raped repeat-
edly by Interahamwe, and hearing the cries of young girls around her, girls as young
as 12 or 13 years old. On the way to the cultural center, the first time she was raped
there, Witness JJ said that she and the others were taken past the Accused and that he
was looking at them. The second time she was taken to the cultural center to be raped,
Witness JJ recalled seeing the Accused standing at the entrance of the cultural center
and hearing him say loudly to the Interahamwe, “Never ask me again what a Tutsi
woman tastes like,” and “Tomorrow they will be killed.” According to Witness JJ,
most of the girls and women were subsequently killed, either brought to the river and
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374 Homicide Studies 15(4)
killed there, after having returned to their houses, or killed at the bureau communal.
Witness JJ testified that she never saw the Accused rape anyone, but she, like Witness
H, believed that he had the means to prevent the rapes from taking place and never
even tried to do so. In describing the Accused and the statement he made regarding the
taste of Tutsi women, she said he was “talking as if someone were encouraging a
player” and suggested that he was the one “supervising” the acts of rape. Witness JJ
said she did not witness any killings at the bureau communal, although she saw dead
bodies there (Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu, 1998, paragraph 422).
Witness KK also recalled seeing women and girls selected and taken away to the
cultural center at the bureau communal by Interahamwes who said they were going to
“sleep with” these women and girls. Witness KK testified regarding an incident in
which the Accused told the Interahamwe to undress a young girl named Chantal,
whom he knew to be a gymnast, so that she could do gymnastics naked. The Accused
told Chantal, who said she was Hutu that she must be a Tutsi because he knew her
father to be a Tutsi. As Chantal was forced to march around naked in front of many
people, Witness KK testified that the Accused was laughing and happy with this.
Afterwards, she said he told the Interahamwes to take her away and said “you should
first of all make sure that you sleep with this girl.” Witness KK also testified regarding
the rape of Tutsi women married to Hutu men. She described, after leaving the bureau
communal, encountering on the road a man and woman who had been killed. She said
the woman, whom she knew to be a Tutsi married to a Hutu, was “not exactly dead”
and still in agony. She described the Interahamwes forcing a piece of wood into the
woman’s sexual organs while she was still breathing, before she died. In most cases,
Witness KK said that Tutsi women married to Hutu men “were left alone because it
was said that these women deliver Hutu children.” She said that there were Hutu men
who married Tutsi women to save them, but that these women were sought, taken
away forcibly, and killed. She said that she never saw the Accused rape a woman
(Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu, 1998, paragraph 429).
Witness NN, a Tutsi woman and the younger sister of JJ, described being raped
along with another sister by two men in the courtyard of their home, just after it was
destroyed by their Hutu neighbors and her brother and father had been killed. Witness
NN said one of the men told her that the girls had been spared so that they could be
raped. She said her mother begged the men, who were armed with bludgeons and
machetes, to kill her daughters rather than rape them in front of her, and the man
replied that the “principle was to make them suffer” and the girls were then raped.
Witness NN confirmed on examination that the man who raped her penetrated her
vagina with his penis, saying he did it in an “atrocious” manner, mocking and taunting
them. She said her sister was raped by the other man at the same time, near her, so that
they could each see what was happening to the other. Afterwards, she said she begged
for death (Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu, 1998, paragraph 430).
According to Witness PP, who then went to Kinihira herself, the three women were
forced by the Interahamwe to undress and told to walk, run, and perform exercises “so
that they could display the thighs of Tutsi women.” All this took place, she said, in
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front of approximately 200 people. After this, she said the women were raped. She
described in particular detail the rape of Alexia by Interahamwe who threw her to the
ground and climbed on top of her saying “Now, let’s see what the vagina of a Tutsi
woman feels like.” According to Witness PP, Alexia gave the Interahamwe named
Pierre her Bible before he raped her and told him, “Take this Bible because it’s our
memory, because you do not know what you’re doing.” Then one person held her
neck, others took her by the shoulders and others held her thighs apart as numerous
Interahamwe continued to rape her—Bongo after Pierre, and Habarurena after Bongo.
According to the testimony, Alexia was pregnant. When she became weak, she was
turned over and lying on her stomach, she went into premature delivery during the
rapes. Witness PP testified that the Interahamwe then went on to rape Nishimwe, a
young girl, and recalled lots of blood coming from her private parts after several men
raped her. Louise was then raped by several Interahamwe while others held her down,
and after the rapes, according to the testimony, all three women were placed on their
stomachs and hit with sticks and killed (Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu, 1998, para-
graph 437).
In the Bosnian genocide, we also have cases of sexual violence:
Another witness, FWS-87, a 15 year old, was interrogated by DRAGAN
ZELENOVIC and three unidentified soldiers in a room at Buk Bijela. During
the interrogation, they accused FWS-87 of not telling the truth. The interroga-
tors removed her clothing and then, each one raped her. The nature of the rape
was vaginal penetration. The first soldier also threatened her by putting a gun to
her head. FWS-87 experienced severe pain during the assault, followed by
heavy vaginal bleeding. (Prosecutor of the Tribunal v. Dragan Gagovic, Gojko
Jankovic, Janko Janjic, Radomir Kovac, Zoran Vukovic, Dragan Zelenovic,
Dragoljub Kunarac, Radovan Stankovic, 1996, paragraph 5.5).
In another case of group sexual violence,
Members of the Jokers took a Bosnian Muslim woman (Witness A) to the bun-
galow, where she was interrogated. While she was held in the bungalow, she
was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted by Bralo. At one point while she
was being interrogated, Bralo beat a Bosnian Croat man in her presence and
threatened to kill her. He raped her in front of other soldiers and ejaculated
repeatedly over her body. He also bit her about the body, including her nipples
(Prosecutor v. Miroslav Bralo, 2005, paragraph 15).
Concentration camps were used to ethnically cleanse non-Serbs. Visitors were
allowed to visit the camp and killed some of the prisoners (Winton & Unlu, 2008).
Both male and female prisoners were assaulted, raped, tortured, and executed. Other
techniques of psychological abuse were also used. The following case is another
example of extreme virulency at the group level:
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376 Homicide Studies 15(4)
Halid Mujkanovic, after describing the calling-out of the three victims and of G
and Witness H, speaks of seeing the accused, whom he knew well, on the floor
of the hangar while prisoners were being beaten, first sitting on a tyre and later
near one of the inspection pits with other soldiers, a group of some seven to ten
soldiers. He himself was crouching beside a glass door at the foot of the stairs
leading into the hangar floor with his hands over his face so that the guards
would not think that he was watching what was happening. He nevertheless did
see the beating of Jasmin Hrnic with an iron bar, already referred to, G emerging
from the inspection pit covered in oil and a man being held down by the hands
while G was ordered to bite the man’s genitals, later he saw G with his mouth
full and “all bloody with oil” and someone being made to eat a live pigeon. He
also saw Jasmin Hrnic being beaten and falling, “as he fell he was showing no
signs of life,” and soldiers on the hangar floor were behaving as if they were
supporting a team at a football match. He did not see the accused taking any
active part in what happened on the hangar floor. However, one of the two occa-
sions on which, while crouching beside the glass door, he saw the accused on
the hangar floor was at the time of the incident involving G emerging from the
inspection pit and having sexually to assault a man. Halid Mujkanovic did not
associate that assault with Fikret Harambasic but rather with one or other of the
three earlier victims. However, it is clear that it was with Fikret Harambasic and
he alone that G was concerned at the time of the inspection pit incident.
Accordingly, this witness’s sighting of the accused on the hangar floor on this
occasion is evidence that the accused was there when Fikret Harambasic was
attacked and sexually assaulted (Prosecutor v. Dusko Tadic a/k/a “Dule,” 1997,
paragraph 222).
Implications. Extreme violence was carried out by both perpetrator groups. Some of
the violent behaviors were similar to those found among serial killers presented in case
studies including mass killings, torture, rape, and mutilation of bodies. Group sexual
violence and torture was organized in both genocides.
Hypermasculinity was present in both genocides. The above descriptions of the Hutu
rapes of Tutsi children and women showed various hypermasculinity actions. Jones
(2002) also described cases of Hutu hypermasculine behavior during the genocide. In
discussing Serbian perpetrators, Kressel (2002) stated, that the perpetrators viewed
“themselves as a heroic and virile race” (p. 32). Sexual violence became an encouraged
act that bonded the perpetrators together as they attempted to destroy the lineage of the
victims (Markusen, 2004; Wood, 2001). In the cases presented, sexual violence, torture,
and mass killings occurred in an extreme group virulency supportive environment.
Discussion and Conclusions
The goal of this study was to apply violentization theory to explain the evolution of the
Rwandan and Bosnian genocides. At the micro level, violentization theory successfully
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Winton 377
provided explanations for both genocides. The stages of violentization were present
in both case studies. Victim and perpetrator accounts were matched with the brutal-
ization, defiance, violent dominance engagements, virulency, and extreme virulency
The brutalization stage was present in both genocides. The perpetrator groups
taught others how to engage in violent behavior through small scale massacres, threats
of victimization, and observation of constructed threats of violence. In addition, the
perpetrators provided permission to engage in violent behavior as a preventive mea-
sure, and a genocidal script was disseminated to the perpetrator group by various
phantom communities. In the defiance stage, the perpetrators were encouraged to
become violent to avoid being victimized and this led to the mobilization of citizens
who agreed to become violent. The perpetrator groups were able to gather large sup-
port systems who provided aid. In the violent dominance engagements stage, the lead-
ers gave permission to the perpetrators to kill. Killing was encouraged and there were
no negative sanctions for killing. In fact, there were negative consequences for refus-
ing to kill. In the virulency stage, the perpetrators defined themselves as violent and
dangerous and directed others to become violent. Finally, in the extreme virulency
stage, extreme violence was carried out by both perpetrator groups, and included mass
killings, torture, rape, mutilation of bodies, and group sexual violence.
The Rwandan and Bosnian genocides presented many similarities but also differ-
ences. Previous genocides had occurred in both locations. Civil wars were also present
during the genocides. In the Bosnian case, three major groups were involved, although
one of the groups was identified as the primary perpetrator group. In the Rwandan
case, two groups were involved, with one group identified as the primary perpetrator.
The victims were segregated by different personal characteristics. For example, in
the Bosnian genocide, the three groups had different religious affiliations while in the
Rwandan case the two groups shared one religion. There appeared to be a stronger
involvement of female perpetrators in the Rwanda genocide.
The locations of the genocides and the levels of development differed as apparent
in the choice of weapons used by the perpetrators. The time frames of the genocides
differed as well. The Rwandan genocide took place over several months in 1994
whereas the Bosnian genocide occurred over a number of years (1992-1998). More
deaths occurred in the Rwandan genocide despite the lower level of weapon technol-
ogy and shorter time frame.
Several limitations of this study should be noted. First, only two genocides were
compared in this study. Future researchers might use multiple cases to determine how
violentization theory fits with other genocides. Second, secondary data was used that
was originally collected for other purposes. This limitation could be addressed by con-
ducting interviews with perpetrators and victims while integrating the violentization
stages into specific questions. Third, postgenocide comparisons were not addressed.
Analyzing the postgenocidal behavior of the perpetrators would be beneficial to exam-
ine how and if they deviolentize. Fourth, the temporal relationship between the stages in
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378 Homicide Studies 15(4)
each of the genocides was not analyzed. Finally, the societal-wide macro explanations
of genocide were not completely addressed, but will be briefly discussed next.
Can violentization theory explain societal-wide violence? Although the results of
this study are congruent with explanations of violence at individual and group levels,
future work needs to be conducted to integrate violentization theory into a theory of
societal-level violence. Suggestions for using this approach at the societal level have
been provided by Athens (2007), Spohn (2008a, 2008b), and Rhodes (2002).
Athens (2007) addresses this issue in his discussion of radical interactionism and
points out how Mead did focus on the operation of institutions, and how institutions
develop and change. Furthermore, Athens focuses his attention on language, family,
economy, religion, polity, and science and how these institutions are rooted in social
action. The integration of the theme of “domination” into the analysis of genocide
would further specify how violent thoughts, feelings, and actions emerge within phan-
tom communities over specific periods of time (Athens, 2002). According to Athens
(2007), “domination not only provides the master principle from which all major insti-
tutions in society are created, but also the master principle for their ongoing operation
after their creation” (p. 141).
This would involve an examination of the dominance hierarchy of each institution
and how this institutional hierarchy operates to allow leaders and the phantom com-
munities to encourage or discourage violent behavior. In other words, institutions may
be organized in a particular manner that may encourage individuals and small groups
to engage in violent or genocidal behavior (Spohn, 2008b). As Spohn (2008a) states,
The phantom community is also important in the context of the considering
violence on the societal scale because it treats whether an entire community or
society can undergo violentization together, and that the internal dialog that
takes place within an individual is replaced with an external, if often still inti-
mate one.” (p. 116)
Applying violentization theory to each of the major institutions would further
develop this theory at a macro level. For example, attention might be focused on how
the political leaders encourage genocidal behavior and how the religious system legiti-
mizes violence toward others. This analysis would also need to address the relation-
ships between the institutions.
Many questions remain on the application of violentization theory to genocide.
Violentization theory may be very useful in differentiating those in similar situations
who become violent perpetrators, take no action, or assist the victims and put their
own lives at risk. For example, comparing “willing” and “unwilling” killers using
violentization theory might assist in discovering specific factors within the violentiza-
tion process that lead to differential violent behavior. Some perpetrators entered the
virulency or extreme virulency stage whereas others remained at the violent domi-
nance engagements stage. Some perpetrators decided to torture and rape the victims
whereas others avoided this behavior. Further research might focus on the deviolentization
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process (Ulmer, 2003; Sanborn, 2003) that may occur postgenocide. The postgeno-
cidal situation can be analyzed to determine if there are specific stages of deviolentiza-
tion that can be mapped out. In addition, early warning signs and procedures to disrupt
the violentization process might be useful for preventing genocide. Certainly there
were small massacres and other indicators (e.g., political speeches, press releases,
community meetings) that might warn of a formation of a genocidal phantom com-
munity. Finally, the time frames for the stages of the violentization process should be
examined possibly using historical-comparative methods (Huttenbach, 2004) as there
may have been repeating cycles of the violentization process in each of the genocides.
In both of these cases, the perpetrators brought up prior victimizations of their group
to instill fear and hatred among the population.
Lonnie Athens has developed a theory that can be successfully applied to many
different types of violence at micro and possibly macro levels. For example, his theory
could be applied to child abuse, intimate partner violence, sports-related violence, bul-
lying behavior, riots, the military and wars, terrorism, prison life, video and internet
games, and genocide. In addition to providing a comprehensive approach to under-
standing violence, his theories may be used to develop programs with an emphasis on
reducing and preventing violent behavior in numerous situations. Hopefully, this type
of research helps to move genocide studies in criminology and sociology out of the
infancy stage to a more mature science.
Author’s Note
An earlier version of this study was presented at the American Society of Criminology Annual
Meeting, Philadelphia in 2009, November.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this
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... Stanton (2009) In-group favoritism arising from social categorization into in-group and out-group Sherif et al., (1961); Tajfel et al. (1971) Perceived competition between in-and out-groups Pratto & Glasford (2008) Classification-focused speech emphasizing power and mistrust Donohue ( (2000) Hate Winton (2011) Cultivation of grievances from the past Staub (2001) Calls for revenge or retaliation Baumeister (1997) Extreme factionalism Goldstone et al. (2010) Asserted/believed legitimacy of violent actions Sabucedo, Blanco & De la Corte (2003) Moral disengagement (from e.g., sanitizing language) Bandura (2002)\ Group-level worldview oriented to ""injustice"" or to ""superiority"" Eidelson & Eidelson (2003) Racism Kiernan (2007) Belief favoring suppression or exclusion of minorities; seeing "the people" as one, indivisible, ethnic Mann (2005) Ethnonationalism; emotional attachment to a group McCauley (2001); Smith (2001) Paranoid discourse: ""other" as foreigner, or as traitor; survival of ""us" through destruction of ""them""; mad desire to build a world without conflict or enemies ...
This chapter examines what macro-level social and economic conditions are conducive to genocidal violence; there are too few bona fide cases of genocide in history to perform any reliable statistical analyses. One method of attempting to address the issue of sample size and of identifying comparison cases is to study a single society over time. Although the society would have reached the level of genocide only once, this method offers the ability to determine whether the variables that are predicted to cause genocide are, in fact, associated with an increase in violence directed against the target population. There is one other method that has been used to try to get data about genocide in order to test theory: a victimization survey. However, there have been some promising methodological innovations for predicting who is likely to partake in genocide, figuring out which groups are likely to be targeted, and explaining regional variations in patterns of violence.
The theory of violentization, which has generated widespread mass media attention and even stimulated a fair amount of independent research, especially extending its explanation to genocide, is based on three main ideas: (1) violent encounters, (2) violent socialization, and (3) violent social organization and disorganization. Violent criminal acts are considered to arise from dominative encounters. For a violent dominative encounter to start, at least one of the participants in a social act must threaten to use physical force to determine who will perform the superordinate and subordinate roles during its construction. Thus, violent dominative encounters explain the interaction between a perpetrator and victim when physical force is threatened or actually used to settle the issue of dominance. There are three basic types of violent encounters: violent engagements, violent skirmishes , and dominance tiffs . Violent dominative encounters occur over a series of stages. The exact number of stages comprising each of them depends on how far the encounter between the conflicting parties proceeds. Violent dominative engagements represent completed dominative encounters and take place over five stages. During the first stage of role claiming , a would‐be superordinate must decide to take on that role and cast someone else in the subordinate role. The would‐be superordinate claims the dominant role by making vocal or bodily gestures signaling his superiority to his would‐be subordinate. During the role rejection , or second stage, would‐be subordinates must not only decide whether to reject the subordinate role imposed on them, but also whether they should resist a ctively or passively . Passive resistance requires making gestures that express neither dominance nor subservience but, instead, merely express their intention not to accede to performing the subordinate role in the social act. If they choose active resistance, they must gain the initiative by making their own dominance‐claiming gestures expressing their attitude of superiority and intention to perform the superordinate role in the social act. However, it is important to recognize that there are cases where the would‐be subordinate's mere presence in their would‐be superordinates’ domain of action challenges their effective performance of the superordinate role.
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In 1939, the German sociologist Norbert Elias published his groundbreaking work The Civilizing Process, which has come to be regarded as one of the most influential works of sociology today. In this insightful new study tracing the history of violence in Cambodia, the authors evaluate the extent to which Elias's theories can be applied in a non-western context. Drawing from historical and contemporary archival sources, constabulary statistics, victim surveys and newspaper reports, Broadhurst, Bouhours and Bouhours chart trends and forms of violence throughout Cambodia from the mid-nineteenth century through to the present day. Analysing periods of colonisation, anti-colonial wars, interdependence, civil war, the revolutionary terror of the 1970s and post-conflict development, the authors assess whether violence has decreased and whether such a decline can be attributed to Elias's civilising process, identifying a series of universal factors that have historically reduced violence.
This article describes the characteristics and scale of Francoist repression in Spain and analyses the potential interpretation of the mass killings of people with leftist ideology as an act of genocide in accordance with the provisions of international law. Focus is placed on the difficulties associated with the inclusion of political groups in the category of genocide victims, and the possibility of a broader interpretation of this categorization is defended. Furthermore, the present study emphasizes the influence of the positivist trend on the configuration of Francoist criminal policy and provides evidence that allows Francoist repression to be considered as genocide in full accordance with international law.
This chapter purports that there are sociological environments, interactions and theoretical reasons as to why some juveniles, as they develop and mature in life, transform from being law abiding juveniles into law breaking juvenile delinquents. Information is presented in this chapter regarding the various environments juveniles live through and what they experience from the people functioning within these environments. There is an examination of how the people, who are models working and living in these environments, influence and shape the behavior of the juveniles. Various theories are presented and discussed as well as the relevance of their value in explaining how observation, processing of information, learning of observed behavior and then replication of behavior with positive reinforcement all contribute to the transformation of a juvenile into a juvenile delinquent.
Successful peace policy that enshrines human rights allows individuals to thrive economically, politically, and socially with minimal conflict. Building from literature on crimes of globalization, genocide, and human rights, the current research investigates the concept of a criminogenic policy that at its core is antithetical to peace policy. Using case study analysis, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is found to be both criminal and criminogenic in violation of international law for two primary reasons. First, the NAFTA negotiation process was criminal and criminogenic for three interrelated reasons: (1) powerful elites heavily influenced the outcome, (2) it was undemocratic, and (3) the opposition was often repressed. Second, the NAFTA policy itself was criminal and criminogenic for two reasons: (1) NAFTA as a policy ignored all of the critical voices that predicted negative outcomes and (2) the written text of NAFTA is criminal for failing to include human rights protections while offering a litany of rights to protect business investment.
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This represents one of several sections of "A Bibliography Related to Crime Scene Interpretation with Emphases in Geotaphonomic and Forensic Archaeological Field Techniques, Nineteenth Edition" (The complete bibliography is also included at This is the most recent edition of a bibliography containing resources for multiple areas of crime scene, and particularly outdoor crime scene, investigations. It replaces the prior edition and contains approximately 10,000 additional citations. As an ongoing project, additional references, as encountered, will be added to future editions. The impact of one’s culture on daily activities is inescapable. That impact, whether conscious or not, must in some ways extend to the commission of crimes as well as victim reactions. The compiler witnessed this in the investigation of the abduction and murder of a young Bosnian girl who had resettled in the United States with more than 8,000 other refugees from the Balkan Wars of the early 1990s. The ease with which her neo-Nazi murderer was able to enter the homes of the Bosnian refugees, and ultimately kidnap this victim, was partly the result of the cultural experiences of the victimized families who feared law enforcement in their home country and so were reluctant to report the preadtor who introduced himself into their community as a health inspector. This category includes citations beyond those about death rituals and includes references about criminal psychology, cultural studies, and forensic psychiatry. A greater understanding of the psychological and cultural motivation subjects might have in committing crimes will impact approaches to searching for, and processing, evidence. One need not be a behavioral scientist or criminal profiler to realize that a subject diagnosed with paranoia might dispose of a victim in a manner different than a sociopath. An example of cultural influence in the selection of a victim’s disposal site is the case of Jeremiah James Bringsplenty. Accounts of this 1992 case included that of the abuse and murder of Jeremiah by family acquaintances who were babysitting the infant in his Clarksville, Tennessee home. Both the victim and the subjects were of Native American ancestry. The subjects left Tennessee for the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota with plans to bury Jeremiah near relatives. Because of decomposition, however, they were forced to stop outside Lincoln, Nebraska to bury the remains. This section also contains references valuable for investigators interviewing subjects and witnesses. This category and “General and Cultural Anthropology of Death” overlap to some degree. The examples or accounts examined in the resources within this section involve a spectrum of physical traumas which might befall victims of homicide or suicide. For that reason, the reader/research should also look in Taphonomy-Trauma for related citations. (3305 citations)
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Criminology has largely ignored the study of crimes against humanity even though the acts involved—genocide, murder, rape, torture, the appropriation or destruction of property and the displacement and enslavement of populations—are criminal under national and international law and more serious than most crimes commonly studied by criminologists. We examine why criminology has neglected these crimes, argue that criminological theorizing will benefit by attending to this substantive area and put forward a theory of crimes against humanity derived from and expanding on existing criminological theory both to offer a basis for new theoretical and empirical work and to illustrate how criminological theories might be modified to provide more powerful accounts of crime. The article draws on a case example of genocidal mass-murder: Jedwabne, Poland, July 1941.
Why did the twentieth century witness unprecedented organized genocide. Can we learn why genocide is perpetrated by comparing different cases of genocide. Is the Holocaust unique, or does it share causes and features with other cases of state-sponsored mass murder. Can genocide be prevented. Blending gripping narrative with trenchant analysis, Eric Weitz investigates four of the twentieth century's major eruptions of genocide: The Soviet Union under Stalin, Nazi Germany, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and the former Yugoslavia. Drawing on historical sources as well as trial records, memoirs, novels, and poems, Weitz explains the prevalence of genocide in the twentieth century--and shows how and why it became so systematic and deadly.
In 2004, the State Department gathered more than a thousand interviews from refugees in Chad that verified Colin Powell’s U.N. and congressional testimonies about the Darfur genocide. The survey cost nearly a million dollars to conduct and yet it languished in the archives as the killing continued, claiming hundreds of thousands of murder and rape victims and restricting several million survivors to camps. This book for the first time fully examines that survey and its heartbreaking accounts. It documents the Sudanese government’s enlistment of Arab Janjaweed militias in destroying black African communities. The central questions are: Why is the United States so ambivalent to genocide? Why do so many scholars deemphasize racial aspects of genocide? How can the science of criminology advance understanding and protection against genocide? This book gives a vivid firsthand account and voice to the survivors of genocide in Darfur.
The problem : violent criminal acts and actors -- A review and critique of the dominant approaches taken in the study of violent criminality -- An interpretive approach -- Self as process : interpretation of the situation -- When interpretations of the situations lead to violent criminal acts -- Self as object : self images -- Self as object and process : the linkage between self-images and interpretations -- Careers of violent actors -- Conclusions. Data on convicted violent offenders. Participant observation of violent actors and acts -- A second look at violent criminal acts and actors -- The conflicting assumptions of positivism and interpretivism -- The origin of my interest in violent crime -- The preliminary phase : the self and the violent criminal act -- Theprincipal phase, I : violent criminal acts and actors -- The principal phrase, II : the larger theoretical implications -- The principal phase, III : the policy implications -- Final thoughts.
Though scholars devoted to the discipline of criminology purport to be theoretically and pragmatically exhaustive with respect to their research on ``crime,'' the study of genocide, an offense prohibited by international criminal law, has been virtually ignored. Nevertheless, the obligation to research genocidal behavior seems critical because of the comprehensive and threatening nature of the offense. Clearly, the consequences of genocide are more ominous than any single violation of domestic statutory law. Presentations at two annual criminal justice conferences and papers published in 13 prestigious periodicals devoted to the discipline of criminology are examined between 1990 and 1998. Content analyses demonstrate the reluctance of the discipline of criminology to identify the crime of genocide as one worthy of scholarly attention. These findings and the future of the discipline of criminology are assessed in light of the unequivocal danger posed by genocidal behavior.