The Complexity of Evil: A Multi-Faceted Approach to Genocide Perpetration

Zeitschrifft für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung

28 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2014

See all articles by Timothy Williams

Timothy Williams

University of Marburg - Center for Conflict Studies

Date Written: August 30, 2014

Abstract

Research on the micro-dynamics of who participates in genocide and why is underdeveloped in the conflict studies literature and there is most of all no recognisable, comprehensive theory on the topic. The aim of this article is to review the psychological literature, as well as the political science, sociological and journalistic investigations of such cases as the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide and the Hutu genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda. From this body of empirical and theoretical results, more general insights on the micro-dynamics of genocide are teased out and synthesised to a more over-arching theory of perpetrator participation and non-participation, identifying some sufficient, though not individually necessary causes. A second model identifies different pathways into becoming a willing, an unwilling, yet persuaded, or a coerced participant, and differentiates this from remaining a non-participant.

Keywords: genocide, perpetrator, motivations, pathway, social psychology

Suggested Citation

Williams, Timothy, The Complexity of Evil: A Multi-Faceted Approach to Genocide Perpetration (August 30, 2014). Zeitschrifft für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2489277

Timothy Williams (Contact Author)

University of Marburg - Center for Conflict Studies ( email )

Ketzerbach 11
Marburg, 35032
Germany

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