Why Not Kill Them All?: The Logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder (New in Paper)

Why Not Kill Them All?: The Logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder (New in Paper)

by Daniel Chirot
     
 

"Why Not Kill Them All? is an excellent book that adopts a fresh and complex approach to the problem of mass killings. In a study that ranges widely around the globe and through history, Chirot and McCauley demonstrate that genocides and other large-scale atrocities are relatively rare events. The human capacity for evil is deep-seated, the authors argue,

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Overview

"Why Not Kill Them All? is an excellent book that adopts a fresh and complex approach to the problem of mass killings. In a study that ranges widely around the globe and through history, Chirot and McCauley demonstrate that genocides and other large-scale atrocities are relatively rare events. The human capacity for evil is deep-seated, the authors argue, but so is our inclination to settle conflicts amicably. The ties that bind us together are at least as strong as the forces that always threaten to rupture human connections. The challenge is to foster the social, cultural, and political tendencies that lead to cohesion rather than conflict. In their conclusion, the authors develop a set of powerful recommendations that students, policymakers, and concerned citizens will all want to consider."—Eric D. Weitz, Professor of History, University of Minnesota, author of A Century of Genocide

"In recent years a parade of social commentators has grappled with the question of the causes of mass killing and genocide. But none of these researchers have brought the breadth of historical and sociological comparison to the issue that Chirot and McCauley do. None has delved as deeply into the social psychology that rationalizes violence. A brilliant synthesis of psychology and historical sociology, this book breaks new ground in the study of mass violence. Troubling and yet hopeful, the book will appeal to specialists as well as the general reader trying to make sense of one of the most morally perplexing issues of our age."—Robert Hefner, Professor of Anthropology, Boston University

"In this wide-ranging book, Daniel Chirot and Clark McCauley make an important contribution to our understanding of genocide and other atrocities by seeking to explain why these tragic events are not more common. By posing this counterintuitive question the authors remind us that although genocide remains far more frequent than we might hope, it is in fact remarkably rare compared to the innumerable motives and opportunities that exist for violence between human social groups. In uncovering the mechanisms already in place in most societies that act to mitigate such violence, they help point the way to making genocide even less common in the future."—Ben Valentino, Dartmouth College, author of Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century

"In their new book, Chirot and McCauley bring to bear on the issue of mass murder a rich ethnographic literature dealing with the ubiquitous subject of violence in society. In particular, they draw the attention of readers to various institutions and practices that emerged in collective life to control violence. Why Not Kill Them All? is bound to become a standard text in university classes addressing the subject of genocide and mass political murder."—Jan T. Gross, author of Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691145945
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/26/2010
Edition description:
With a New preface by the authors
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
944,661
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition ix

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: Are we Killers or Peacemakers? 1

Chapter 1 Why Genocides? Are they Different Now than in the Past? 11

The Four Main Motives Leading to Mass Political Murder 19

Are Modern Genocides and Ethnic Cleansings Different? Retribalization and the Modern State 45

Chapter 2 The Psychological Foundations of Genocidal Killing 51

How to Get Ordinary People to Become Butchers 52

Organization 57

Emotional Appeals: Leaders and Followers 58

Essentializing Others 81

The Dangerous Similar Others 87

The Conditions of Genocide 90

Chapter 3 Why is Limited Warfare More Common than Genocide? 95

Weighing the Costs of Genocidal Conflicts 97

Limiting the Damage of Warfare 99

Exogamy: Making the Enemy Part of the Family 103

Establishing Codes of Warfare and Exchange to Limit Violence 111

Are Rules of Exogamy, Codes of Honor, and Potlatching Still Relevant? 116

The Mercantile Compulsion 121

Morality and Modesty: Rejecting Certitude 134

Yearning for Solutions 147

Chapter 4 Strategies to Decrease the Chances of Mass Political Murder in Our Time 149

State Policies that Reduce Hostility between Groups 155

Limiting Demands for Justice and Revenge 180

Modest Solutions and Small-Scale Changes to Promote Tolerance 187

The Crucial Role of States in Promoting Peaceful Exchanges 199

Individual Rights and Pluralist Histories 203

Conclusion: Our Question Answered 211

References 219

Index 249

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