1 Int'l J. Group Rts. 79 (1993-1994)
Accounting for Genocide after 1945: Theories and Some Findings

handle is hein.journals/ijmgr1 and id is 89 raw text is: International Journal on Group Rights 1: 79-106, 1993.
© 1993 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Accounting for genocide after 1945:
Theories and some findings*
HELEN FEIN
Institute for the Study of Genocide, New York, U.S.A.
Received 11 November 1992; accepted 9 March 1993
Key words: genocide, ethnic conflict, war, communism, theory
Abstract. Genocide has been related in social theory to both social and political structure: i.e.,
plural society (ethnoclass exclusion and discrimination) and types of polities - revolutionary,
totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. War has also been noted as an instigator or frequent context
of genocide. This paper reviews theoretical expectations and examines the empirical relation
between genocides (and other state massacres) and indices of ethnic discrimination, polity form,
and war among states in Asia, Africa and the Mid-East from 1948 to 1988.
Findings show that (1) most users of genocide are repeat offenders. (2) There is a high
likelihood of political exclusion and discrimination of ethnoclasses producing rebellions which
instigate genocides and other state-sponsored massacres. (3) As expected, unfree, authoritarian,
and one-party communist states (in ascending order) are most likely to use genocide. Democratic
states in this era are not perpetrators against their citizens but have been patrons and
accomplices of genocidal regimes elsewhere. One-party communist states are 4.5 times more
likely to have used genocide than are authoritarian states. (4) States involved in wars are many
more times as likely to have employed genocide than other states.
Exploring these cases, we find that genocides both lead to war and war leads to genocide
through several processes. (5) The use of genocide in conflicts within the state in the regions
surveyed tripled between 1968-88 compared to the preceding score of years (10:3 cases).
Genocide and genocidal massacres occur so often that they may be considered normal in these
regions.
Both the theoretical and the policy implications of these findings are discussed. Observing
on the latter, we note that journalists and scholars have often confused recognition of genocide
and genocidal massacres by framing these cases as 'ethnic conflicts', by confounding the toll
of war and massacre and by conflating concepts. To deter genocide, we should promote
nonviolent change in order to eliminate ethnoclass domination and monitor civil wars to detect
* The research for this paper was pursued under a fellowship from the Social Science Research
Council MacArthur Foundation International Peace and Security Program while resident at the
Program for Nonviolent Sanctions of the Centre for International Affairs of Harvard University,
1989-1991.
I am grateful to Ted Gurr (University of Maryland) - whose special contribution is cited in
note 4 - and Barbara Harff (US Naval Academy), Kurt Jonassohn and Frank Chalk (Montreal
Institute for Genocide Studies, Concordia University), Herbert Spirer (University of Connecticut)
and John Thompson (Columbia University) for their critiques of earlier versions of this paper
and to Herbert Spirer for Figure 1. Readers should note that my conclusions substantially modify
some earlier conclusions (relating to ethnic exclusion/discrimination) in 'Explaining Genocide:
War, Polities and Ethnoclass Discrimination - Some Findings, 1945-1988' presented at the
annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in Washington, DC, on August
29, 1991.

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