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Beyond the Banality of Evil Criminology and Genocide

ISBN: 9780199674626 | 0199674620
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pub. Date: 11/1/2013

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Positioning itself within significant developments in genocide studies arising from misgivings about two noteworthy observers, Arendt and Milgram, this book asks what lies 'beyond the banality of evil'? And suggests the answer lies within criminology.

Offering the author's reflections about how to interpret genocide as a crime, Beyond the Banality of Evil: Criminology and Genocide endeavors to understand how the theories of criminal motivation might shed light on these stunning events and make them comprehensible. While a great deal has been written about the shortcomings of the obedience paradigm and 'desk murderers' when discussing the Holocaust, little has been said of what results when investigations are taken beyond these limitations. Through examination and analysis of the literature surrounding genocide studies, Brannigan frames the events within a general theoretical approach to crime before applying his own revised model, specifically to Rwanda and drawn from field-work in 2004 and 2005. This provides a new and compelling account of the dynamics of the 1994 genocide and its distinctive attributes of speed, popularity, totality and emotional indifference.

With a focus on the disarticulation of personal culpability among ordinary perpetrators, Beyond the Banality of Evil questions the effectiveness of individual-level guilt imputation in these politically based, collectively orchestrated crimes, and raises doubts about the utility of criminal indictments that have evolved in the context of models of individual misconduct.


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