Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide

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University of California Press, 2005 - History - 360 pages
"Hinton has traveled to the heart and soul of the Cambodian people."—Youk Chhang, Director, Documentation Center of Cambodia

"In Why Did They Kill?, Hinton explores the cultural roots of Khmer Rouge genocidal behavior. Hinton brings extensive fieldwork, wide reading and a compassionate turn of mind to bear on the awful question posed by the title. In the process, he takes us closer to the darkness at the heart of the Khmer Rouge and the darkness inside ourselves. This is a fearless, important and deeply resonant book."—David Chandler, author of Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison

"Alex Hinton's bold, unflinching, and ethnographically rich account of the dialectics of genocide is an essential contribution to the anthropology of evil."—Nancy Scheper-Hughes, author of Death without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil

"Nowhere else has the bodily, literally visceral, dimension of genocide been so well illustrated. Hinton's study contributes greatly to efforts, which must be continuous for all of us, to combat genocidal forces everywhere."—Robert Jay Lifton, author of The Nazi Doctors and Superpower Syndrome: America's Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World

"A riveting analysis of the Cambodian genocide. Using detailed materials and careful arguments, Hinton interweaves the ideological constructions, the cultural dimensions, the mechanisms that manufactured difference and dissolved humanity, and the subjective experiences and meaning-making that engaged the perpetrators, showing how they worked together to make up the process. A remarkable achievement!"—Fredrik Barth, Professor of Anthropology, Boston University/University of Oslo

"Alex Hinton provides an analysis of the Cambodian genocide that for the first time explains the extreme cruelty of the Khmer Rouge regime as a manifestation of deep structures in Cambodian culture. Hinton's probing field research is in the best tradition of Clifford Geertz, Victor Turner, and the finest cultural anthropologists."—Gregory Stanton, President, Genocide Watch
 

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Contents

In the Shadow of Genocide
1
Preamble
39
Power Patronage and Suspicion
96
In the Shade of Pol Pots Umbrella
126
The DK Social Order
182
Manufacturing Difference
211
The Dark Side of Face and Honor
252
Why People Kill
276
Note on Transliteration
299
Bibliography
327
Index
351
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Alexander Laban Hinton is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University, Newark. He is the editor of Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide (California, 2002), Genocide: An Anthropological Reader (2002), and Biocultural Approaches to the Emotions (1999).

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