Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide by Alexander Laban Hinton, Kenneth Roth

By Alexander Laban Hinton, Kenneth Roth

Genocide is without doubt one of the so much urgent concerns that confronts us this day. Its dying toll is miraculous: over 100 million useless. due to their intimate event within the groups the place genocide happens, anthropologists are uniquely located to give an explanation for how and why this mass annihilation happens and the categories of devastation genocide explanations. This flooring breaking publication, the 1st number of unique essays on genocide to be released in anthropology, explores quite a lot of instances, together with Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Bosnia.

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Manz’s essay focuses on Santa Maria Tzejá, a Mayan village where she has conducted research since the early s and that is located in El Quiché province, where  massacres took place. Like so many of its surrounding communities, Santa Maria Tzejá was the site of a brutal massacre in which more than a dozen people were slaughtered and the village razed. How, Manz asks, do people cope with such ordeals and a life spent in a climate of fear and terror? The psychological toll of such conflicts runs deep in places like Santa Maria Tzejá, where survivors are haunted by painful memories, emotional swings, somatic pains, and chronic anxiety.

On the domestic and international fronts, anthropologists can point out how public discourses about violence inform political policy and response. The term ethnic conflict, for example, invokes a set of explanatory narratives implying that violence is the inevitable result of a “seething cauldron” of endogenous, ancient hatreds that erupt when not suppressed by the state. Popular narratives of “genocide,” in turn, suggest that mass murder has an exogenous origin, as leaders like Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot manipulate their followers to annihilate victims.

Drawing on his ethnographic fieldwork in Rwanda, Taylor points out that Rwandan conceptions of the body are frequently structured in terms of a root metaphor of (orderly) flow and (disorderly) blockage. Health and well-being depend upon proper bodily flow. Thus, the bodies of newborn infants are carefully examined to ensure that they are free of “obstructions,” such as anal malforma-       tions, that would indicate an inability to participate in (flows) of social exchange. ” This root metaphor is analogically linked to a variety of other conceptual domains, ranging from topography to myth.

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