I offer some theoretical and empirical reflections on the problems and prospects of the prevention of genocide in the early twenty-first century.
While scholars in the field vary in their theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of genocide, even a cursory glance at the field indicates that there is a strong and widely shared belief in which holds that: 1. that a fundamental goal of genocide studies is to offer understandings of genocide which will be useful and, indeed, necessary for the prevention of genocide.
It can also been seen in a communal perspective, these two societies Hutus and Tutsis have lived by one another for centuries and the genocide ruined the peace that was kept amongst them.
Lastly, it can be seen from a governmental point of view, both from the United Nations view as well as the government that was set in place in Africa in that time period.
In addition to studying the phenomenon of genocide, we need also to study the study of genocide.
The guiding theoretical spirit of such a task comes from the sociology of knowledge, which sees knowledge of genocide as a cultural production of various scholars with particular world-views, biographies, ideological dispositions, and material interests, networks of attachment, all which shape and influence the structure of what we know about genocide.
Indeed, preventionism is an ideology which has provided legitimacy to social science since the earliest of times: knowledge of society produced through scientific inquiry is the first step in the prevention or amelioration of social problems.
As a mental experiment to indicate the prevalence of preventionism in genocide studies, one might consider what the likelihood of finding someone within the genocide studies who studied genocide purely for the scientific satisfaction of knowing about it.
A panel of scholars with diverse experiences studying conflicts from Ireland to Rwanda tackle the difficult question: is genocide preventable?
The panel included Tom Cushman, Eric Markusen, Joyce Apsel, and Anita Sharma.