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The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing

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Overview

This comprehensive study of international ethnic cleansing provides in-depth coverage of its occurrences in Armenia, Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, as well as cases of lesser violence in early modern Europe and in contemporary India and Indonesia. After presenting a general theory of why serious conflict emerges and how it escalates into mass murder, Michael Mann offers suggestions on how to avoid such escalation in the future. Michael Mann is the author of Fascists (Cambridge, 2004) and The Sources of Social Power (Cambridge 1986).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In addressing the origins of ethnic cleansing, UCLA sociologist Mann (Fascism) locates differing stages of political participation as a major factor. He begins with stable authoritarian regimes (e.g., Tito's Yugoslavia) that exclude participation; when such regimes break down, there is a period of everybody scrambling for power and trying to exclude somebody else with the "else" usually defined on ethnic lines. Other examples include Armenia, the Holocaust and Rwanda, as well as India (the Sikhs and Muslims) and Indonesia (the Chinese). Eventually, the author's somewhat optimistic scenario argues, we arrive at stable participatory societies, with everybody somewhat included and limits set on what can be done to exclude groups (the Voting Rights Act of 1964 in the U.S.). Free from sociological jargon and abundant in historical data, this study sufficiently allows lay readers access. It can be difficult at moments to tell if Mann's prediction of the high body count in the Third World's coming century or so of ethnic cleansing is Eurocentric, callous or grimly realistic, but such moments always resolve into that last choice. Mann proposes some feasible remedies and scales of intervention. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
Ethnic cleansing is typically seen as the work of primitive evildoers operating outside of modernity. In this important and provocative book, the distinguished sociologist Mann argues that murderous ethnic cleansing is in fact an ugly facet of our modern democratic age-that "it belongs to our own civilization and to us." Mann suggests that democratization in particular multiethnic settings can create situations in which "rule by the people" is defined in ethnic terms, leading a majority group to tyrannize minorities. A "danger zone" is reached when rival ethnic groups lay claim to the same territory, and do so with some legitimacy and prospect of success. Often an outgrowth of an unrelated crisis such as a war, ethnic cleansing breaks out when the weaker side fights because of the promise of outside aid-as in the Yugoslav, Rwandan, Kashmiri, and Chechen cases-or when the stronger side believes it can cleanse a state at considerable profit and little risk-as in the Armenian and Jewish genocides. Mann's account is not the last word on ethnic cleansing, but it certainly is among the most sophisticated yet.
From the Publisher
"Michael Mann, one of the great sociological thinkers of our day published two impressive books this year (both from Cambridge University Press)..[in]"The Dark Side of Democracy" he examines the intimate connection between democratization and ethnic cleansing... [and] unlike most sociologists, Mann does not write in jargon. Though certainly dense, these books will reward the effort of any non-scholar willing to tackle them."
- Newsday

"The book is impressive in its historical dimensions."
- Canadian Journal of Sociology Online

"This book, almost encyclopedic in content and rich in descriptive analysis, makes a significant contribution to political sociology and should be required reading for social scientists, political leaders, and policy makers. Essential."
-Choice

"Michael Mann is a purveyor of big ideas, and this big book is full of them, brilliant, powerful, and provocative. Starting from its title, The Dark Side of Democracy launches a debate that will reshape our understanding of the worst of human history in the light of the best, and of the ancient in the light of the modern. Mann combines close empirical insights with a magisterial conceptual grasp. Every page offers points to applaud, dispute, and reflect on. We will be arguing about this work for years, and whatever conclusions we reach will be sharper for it."
- Ben Kiernan, Director, Genocide Studies Program, Yale University

"One of our most distinguished political analysts has turned his attention to the darkest corners of political life, to murderous ethnic conflict. As sketched in this superb book, Mann's account of such cases is timely, provocative - who, for instance, would want to believe that ethnic cleansing bears the imprint of democracy - and ultimately persuasive. A must, if disturbing, read."
- Doug McAdam, Department of Sociology, Stanford University

"Michael Mann's new book is sweeping in its coverage and daring in its argumentation. Its central theme - that murderous ethnic cleansing has accompanied the rise of salvation religion and modern democracy - flies in the face of some broadly held assumptions, namely, that such extreme actions can be explained by recrudescent ancient hatreds or the cynical manipulation of authoritarian elites. Well-researched and compellingly written, this is one of the best recent books on the subject available today."
- Beth A. Simmons, Harvard University

"Free from sociological jargon and abundant in historical data, this study sufficiently allows lay readers access."
- Publishers Weekly

"Michael Mann's The Dark Side of Democracy is an excellent attempt to theorize the origins and escalation of ethnic cleansing by focusing on political power relations within a society."
- H-Genocide, Susumu Suzuki, Department of Political Science, Wayne State University

"The book is a significant contribution to political sociology and to understanding the complex phenomenon of violent ethnic cleansing...The reader cannot but be impressed with the global range and the intensity and accuracy of the research that are reflected in this lengthy text, and with Mann's effort to integrate them into a set of rigorously stated explanatory propositions." The International History Review Milton J. Esman, Cornell University

"In a work of great knowledge and forceful argumentation, Michael Mann seeks to provide a general explanation for one of the worst atrocities of the modern era...Mann's knowledge is wide ranging, and aspects of his analysis are illuminating." - Eric D. Weitz, University of Minnesota

"Mann excels at describing the stages a regime goes through as it descends into ethnic cleansing or mass murder, how an initial plan to privilege one ethnic group over another is twisted and radicalized into the unintended plan 'd' —full scale ethnic murder—and how 'ordinary' citizens are co-opted into endorsing it." - Rima Berns-McGown, The University of Toronto and the Canadian Institute of International Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521831307
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/11/2004
  • Pages: 580
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Mann is a Professor of Sociology at University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of The Sources of Social Power (Cambridge 1986, 1993) and Fascists (Cambridge, 2004).

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Table of Contents

1 The argument 1
2 Ethnic cleansing in former times 34
3 Two versions of "we, the people" 55
4 Genocidal democracies in the new world 70
5 Armenia, I : into the danger zone 111
6 Armenia, II : genocide 140
7 Nazis, I : radicalization 180
8 Nazis, II : fifteen hundred perpetrators 212
9 Nazis, III : genocidal careers 240
10 Germany's allies and auxiliaries 279
11 Communist cleansing : Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot 318
12 Yugoslavia, I : into the danger zone 353
13 Yugoslavia, II : murderous cleansing 382
14 Rwanda, I : into the danger zone 428
15 Rwanda, II : genocide 449
16 Counterfactual cases : India and Indonesia 474
17 Combating ethnic cleansing in the world today 502
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