Perpetrator Studies Network


Fundamentals of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention – Scott Straus

Since the Holocaust and World War II, an international community of policy makers, scholars, and activists has developed a loose network of norms, institutions, and policy tools to prevent and respond to acts of mass violence against civilians. Fundamentals analyzes the normative, legal, and operational opportunities and challenges associated with preventing genocide and mass atrocities to date, and identifies unresolved issues in this nascent field of study and practice. It also offers important insights into opportunities to strengthen both our understanding of and our ability to implement policies and programs to stop the world’s worst violence.

Geared toward practitioners and students seeking a preliminary introduction to key issues, this volume surveys research and policy questions at the heart of efforts to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. Among these questions are:

  • How are genocide and mass atrocity defined?
  • Why do genocide and mass atrocities occur?
  • What are the tools available to policy makers to prevent genocide and mass atrocities?
  • How can societies be rebuilt after genocide and mass atrocities?
  • How has the international community responded to atrocities in the past, and how can we think about trends in violence that might drive more effective future responses?

This volume will make these dilemmas approachable for an expanding community of activists, graduate and undergraduate students, scholars, policy makers, and civil society leaders.

Scott Straus is professor of political science and international studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His most recent book is Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership, and Genocide in Modern Africa (Cornell University Press, 2015).

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