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Reading: Some Remarks on the Complexity of Collective Violence - Understanding the Whole

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Some Remarks on the Complexity of Collective Violence - Understanding the Whole

Author:

Christophe Busch

Kazerne Dossin, BE
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Abstract

Claudine Kayitesi is convinced that the causes and dynamics of genocide, or ‘the truths’ as she called them, will remain unknown to us. As a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, and not as a scholar, she stated that the root causes of genocide are ‘not two or three roots, but a whole tangle that has mouldered underground.’ She uses the metaphor of a tangle, a confused mass of something twisted together. Personally, I think this is one of the better representations I have read studying the complexity of collective violence. Indeed, mass murder, genocide, terrorism, have no clear and distinct set of causes, like a tree has some major roots that are feeding it. A rhizome, such as the tangled roots of bamboo, is a better representation of what lies underneath these processes. In using this metaphor Kayitesi shifts from a tree-root approach towards a more rhizomatic approach of the highly complex interplay of actors, actions, contexts and cascade dynamics that give rise to genocidal processes. The current academic models we use to untangle this complex interplay of (f)actors have had their merits and advanced our understanding, but for the moment we are in desperate need of integrating them into new whole(s).
How to Cite: Busch, C., 2018. Some Remarks on the Complexity of Collective Violence - Understanding the Whole. Journal of Perpetrator Research, 2(1), pp.26–32. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21039/jpr.2.1.21
Published on 16 Dec 2018.

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