University of Hertfordshire

Aetiology of genocide

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForensic Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts, Debates and Practice: Second Edition
EditorsJoanna R. Adler, Jacqueline M Gray
PublisherWillan Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)0203833309, 9780203833308
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2010


Genocide is one of a number of crimes against humanity. These are defined in international law as acts against people which degrade their human dignity. Such acts are tolerated or actively pursued by state authorities. Destexhe 1995 (quoted on the BBC website) says:

Genocide is a crime on a different scale to all other crimes against humanity and implies an intention to completely exterminate the chosen group […]. Genocide is therefore both the gravest and greatest of the crimes against humanity. ( hi/world/africa/3853157.stm)

In this chapter, we will first provide some historical and definitional context of genocide for the reader; we will then move on to discuss how psychology can be brought to bear in discussing such heinous state crimes. This chapter is a more in-depth consideration of matters we first considered in Adler and Golec de Zavala (2010).

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