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Other titles in the Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights series:
Cultural Genocide (Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights)by Lawrence Davidson
Synopses & Reviews
Most scholars of genocide focus on mass murder. Lawrence Davidson, by contrast, explores the murder of culture. He suggests that when people have limited knowledge of the culture outside of their own group, they are unable to accurately assess the alleged threat of others around them. Throughout history, dominant populations have often dealt with these fears through mass murder. However, the shock of the Holocaust now deters todayandrsquo;s great powers from the practice of physical genocide. Majority populations, cognizant of outside pressure and knowing that they should not resort to mass murder, have turned instead to cultural genocide as a andldquo;second bestandrdquo; politically determined substitute for physical genocide.
In Cultural Genocide, this theory is applied to events in four settings, two events that preceded the Holocaust and two events that followed it: the destruction of American Indians by uninformed settlers who viewed these natives as inferior and were more intent on removing them from the frontier than annihilating them; the attack on the culture of Eastern European Jews living within Russian-controlled areas before the Holocaust; the Israeli attack on Palestinian culture; and the absorption of Tibet by the Peopleandrsquo;s Republic of China.
In conclusion, Davidson examines the mechanisms that may be used to combat todayandrsquo;s cultural genocide as well as the contemporary social and political forces at work that must be overcome in the process.
Cultural Genocide establishes a theoretical basis for understanding why groups can be readily brought to seek the elimination of out-groups using the tactic of cultural destruction. Lawrence Davidson applies his theory to four uses of cultural genocide, with two pre-Holocaust case studies and two post-Holocaust case studies. He examines the mechanisms that may be used to combat todayandrsquo;s cultural genocide as well as the contemporary social and political forces at work that must be overcome in the process.
How do societies come to terms with the aftermath of genocide and mass violence, and how might the international community contribute to this process? Recently, transitional justice mechanisms such as tribunals and truth commissions have emerged as a favored means of redress.and#160;Transitional Justice, the first edited collection in anthropology focused directly on this issue, argues that, however well-intentioned, transitional justice needs to more deeply grapple with the complexities of global and transnational involvements and the local on-the-ground realities with which they intersect.Contributors consider what justice means and how it is negotiated in different localities where transitional justice efforts are underway after genocide and mass atrocity. They address a variety of mechanisms, among them, a memorial site in Bali, truth commissions in Argentina and Chile, First Nations treaty negotiations in Canada, violent youth groups in northern Nigeria, the murder of young women in post-conflict Guatemala, and the gacaca courts in Rwanda.
About the Author
and#160;LAWRENCE DAVIDSON is a professor of history at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Americaandrsquo;s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood, Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing Americaandrsquo;s National Interest and coauthor of A Concise History of the Middle East.
Table of Contents
1. Theoretical Foundations
2. Cultural Genocide and the American Indians
3. Russia and the Jews in the Nineteenth Century
4. Israel and Palestinian Cultural Genocide
5. The Chinese Assimilation of Tibet
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History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology