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The Order Of Genocide: Race, Power, And War In Rwanda
The Rwandan genocide has become a touchstone for debates about the causes of mass violence and the responsibilities of the international community. Yet a number of key questions about this tragedy remain unanswered: How did the violence spread from community to community and so rapidly engulf the nation? Why did individuals make decisions that led them to take up machetes ...more
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published November 14th 2006 by Cornell University Press
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This book is a "must-read" for anyone interested in the Rwandan genocide or genocide studies more generally. The author takes on more than one big question in this study of the political and social mechanisms that account for the Rwandan genocide. First, he makes a strong functionalist argument for the genocide in contrast to the more common intentionalist view. In other words, he demonstrates that the genocide could have occurred as it did even if no firm decision to engage in genocide was take ...more
This academic investigation of the situational and individual factors that contributed to the Rwandan Genocide is systematic and exhaustive. It utilizes a close look at the unfolding of events, records from the genocide, hundreds of interviews with genocidiares (killers)' and statistical analysis. While not as compelling of a read as Gourevitch's "We wish to inform you...", it provides a distinct empirical perspective that diverges in a few key arguments/conclusions from previous accounts:
1) the ...more
1) the ...more
One would think that, by now, we would understand what happened in the Rwandan genocide. After all, it happened in 1994. But so many critical details are missing. How many people were killed? Who shot down President Habyarimana's airplane? And perhaps most importantly, why did ordinary Hutu begin killing their Tutsi neighbors? There are many excellent examinations of the genocide available, but Straus's stands out because of his social science approach. With statistical analysis on his side he i ...more
Probably one of the best theories on the Rwandan Genocide. Accurately and logically bridges how the national leaders ordered genocide and why that order was so thoroughly carried out on the local level. I just wish the theory was generalizable to other genocides, but sadly it is too unique to warrant a one-for-one translation to the Holocaust or Khmer Rouge, etc.
This is a very good academic analysis of the Genocide in Rwanda. It is not an interesting narrative but a very useful resource for those looking for a scholarly approach. It also explores a lot of common myths about the motivation of killers in the genocide and debunks many of the presumed driving factors.
I read this book for my course on Violent Conflict in Africa and was fascinated both by the research question of seeking to understand individuals' motivations to participate in genocide and mass atrocities, and by the methodology of arriving at answers to this question.