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Chapter Summary

Genocide is the deliberate destruction of a specific group of people and is generally seen as the 'crime of all crimes'. This chapter defines genocide, gives a brief legal history of the concept, and describes the social context in which it is usually committed. Several social science scholars have therefore come up with their own definitions of genocide, not only in order to include other groups but also because they were in dire need of a definition which would be better suited for sociological research. Some other scholars have invented new concepts such as politicide, ethnocide and democide to supplement genocide as a concept. The chapter also presents illustrative case studies on the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust committed during the Second World War.

Keywords: genocide; Holocaust; Rwanda; Second World War; social context



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