Extremely violent societies: an alternative to the concept of genocide
Journal of Genocide Research
The past 15 years have seen an avalanche of research about mass violence and “genocide.” This is not only true for the three topics which will play a role in this article: Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the late Ottoman Empire. It also applies to Rwanda and Cambodia, East Timor, the disintegration of Yugo- slavia, and Namibia under German colonialism. We now roughly know about the What, Who and When, about the shape and the dimension of most events; we know more about who the perpetrators and organizers were and start to understand their motives. Yet it would seem that the new research sometimes has not led us to question our categories of thinking adequately and to adapt them to the new empirical evidence. The aforementioned topics or fields—all rapidly developing—have some developments, and improvements, in common but they also reflect common problems, including conceptual ones.