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Political Science 4426F/G Chapter Notes -Genocide Convention, Volksliste, Social Reproduction

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 4426F/G
James S Quinn

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The intentional destruction of a group because of who they are
20th Century = 60 million
Backward/savage indigenous people destroyed in the name of
oMoral Imperative for scholars
If we do not attempt an explanation, how can we prevent its
recurrence in the future?
Problems: may mitigate the moral offense of the perpetrators
oTerming Genocide
Terminological rigor is crucial for analytical clarity and to avoid
diluting the meaning of the term
Clear definition is also needed for legal reasons
How can part of/a population perish?
What goes on in the minds of perpetrators when they kill
another human being?
What is the psychological toll on the victims and survivors?
oGenocide Convention
Dec 11, 1946 UN passed resolution that would outlaw genocide
Defined as "denial of the right of existence of entire
human groups...when racial, religious, political, and other groups
have been destroyed, entirely or in part"
Issues with this Definition
1. Disagreement over which groups should be
Led by USSR against the more
"mutable" group identities
2. Issue of intent
Becomes possible for perpetrators to
deny the intent behind their actions
3. Types of actions that should be characterized
as genocide
Lemkin 's definition included the
destruction of a culture's way of life
This worried countries with
colonial pasts
4. Numbers
How can genocide be quantified?
5. Enforcement
Until creation of ICC, states were
essentially left to indict themselves
Article #2

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In the present Convention, genocide means any of the
following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in
part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or
in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another
oFein's Definition
A sustained purposeful action by a perpetrator to physically
destroy a collectivity directly or indirectly, through interdiction of the
biological and social reproduction of group members, sustained
regardless of the surrender or lack of threat offered by the victim
oGenocide as Liberal
Protects "individuals" against the violation of their "human
rights" while paradoxically guarding the sovereignty of the nation-
Linked to a set of interrelated processed
Economic (the rise of capitalism and monetarized
Political (the emergence of the nation-state and secular
forms of government)
Social (the decline of "traditional" hierarchies and
allegiances and the rise of new class, race, and gender-based
Cultural (the privileging of a new set of secular ideas,
many based on the Enlightenment's faith in progress, science,
and reason)
Idea that "modern" is something Western, favourable, desired
and improved
oManufacturing Differences
Group identities are premised on the existence of an "other" and
a "we" that are usually ethnocentric
Chapter 1
oGenocide Definition Objectives
Signifies a coordinated plan of different actions aimed at
annihilating the groups themselves
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