Added: November 2, 2013 – Last updated: June 4, 2016


Author: Bojan Žalec

Title: Genocide as social death

Subtitle: A comparative conceptual analysis

Journal: Anthropological Notebooks

Volume: 19

Issue: 2

Year: 2013

Pages: 57-74

ISSN: 1408-032X – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | European History: Bosnian History, Serbian History | Types: Wartime Sexual Violence / Bosnian War



Društvo antropologov Slovenije (Slovene Anthropological Society) (Free Access)

EBSCOhost (Restricted Access)


Abstract: »This article explains the concept of genocide by means of the concept of social death. Its central findings are that genocide is an extreme form of social death; the intentional causing of social death is the central evil of genocide; social death is what distinguishes genocide from mass killings; the physical killing of the members of the target groups is not essential for genocide; there are more sophisticated forms of genocide by which the members of the target groups are not killed physically, but instead “only” particular ties, relationships and social structures, which are of vital importance for the survival of the target groups as such, are destroyed. This article also explains what kind of groups are targets of genocide, the claim that genocide is an ethically laden concept, and some implications of this fact. On this basis, it provides a comparative analysis of some phenomena closely connected with genocide: crimes against humanity, totalitarianism, terrorism and ethnic cleansing. It reflects also upon the genocidal effects of military mass rapes. What is genocide? is a crucial question. Consequently, sharpening our minds for the recognition of genocide, including by providing an adequate definition that is appropriately tested, is a vital task. Providing such a definition is the main aim of this article.« (Source: Anthropological Notebooks)


  Introduction (p. 57)
  Definitions of genocide (p. 59)
    UN Convention definition (p. 59)
    The need for a broader definition of genocide (p. 59)
    Lemkin's definition (p. 61)
  Forms of genocide (p. 61)
  Genocide as social death (p. 62)
  What kinds of groups are targets of genocide? (p. 63)
  Genocide is an ethically laden (and therefore in a sense relative) concept (p. 65)
  Genocide and some concepts related to it (p. 67)
    Crimes against humanity, terrorism, auto-genocide (p. 67)
    Totalitarism (p. 68)
  Genocide, ethnic cleansing, and systematic mass rapes: Sperm as a biological weapon (p. 69)
  Conclusion (p. 71)
  References (p. 72)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Bosnia and Herzegovina | Sex and the law: Rape of males, Wartime sexual violence | War: Bosnian War / Rape during the Bosnian War