Barbaric Civilization: A Critical Sociology of Genocide

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, Jun 15, 2011 - Social Science - 356 pages
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From its beginnings in the early twelfth century, the Western civilizing process has involved two interconnected transformations: the monopolization of military force by sovereign states and the cultivation in individuals of habits and dispositions of the kind that we call "civilized." The combined forward movement of these processes channels violent struggles for social dominance into symbolic performances. But even as the civilizing process frees many subjects from the threat of direct physical force, violence accumulates behind the scenes and at the margins of the social order, kept there by a deeply habituated performance of dominance and subordination called deferentiation. When deferentiation fails, difference becomes dangerous and genocide becomes possible. Connecting historical developments with everyday life occurrences, and discussing examples ranging from thirteenth-century Languedoc to 1994 Rwanda, Powell offers an original framework for analyzing, comparing, and discussing genocides as variable outcomes of a common underlying social system, raising unsettling questions about the contradictions of Western civilization and the possibility of a world without genocide.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
PART ONE
21
PART TWO
163
Conclusion
301
Definitions of Genocide
311
References
321
Index
347
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About the author (2011)

Christopher Powell is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Manitoba.

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