CURRENT TRENDS IN GENOCIDE RESEARCH – 2024-1

Summary

Suren A. Manukyan
Ph.D. in History

In its fifth decade of development, the field of Genocide studies continue the exploration of many fundamental topics that have been central since its foundation. The phenomenon of genocide, encompassing its underlying causes, the actors involved, the methods of execution, and the enduring consequences, remains a focal point of attention for specialists from a range of disciplines, including history, political science, law, sociology, psychology, and more.

Several core themes have endured throughout this field’s evolution, such as the definition of the term “genocide,” the categorization of mass murders, intergroup conflicts, the construction of overarching narratives for individual genocides, the strategies and technologies employed in mass killings, the behaviors of both perpetrators and victims, third-party complicity and indifference, the influence of international relations and geopolitics, as well as the role of war and ideologies in the initiation and progression of genocides. Moreover, the portrayal of these crimes and tragedies in art remains a significant aspect of study.

Nevertheless, new trends have emerged, significantly reshaping the field and, in some cases, bringing about revolutionary change. Notably, the scope of examined cases has expanded beyond recognized genocides to include lesser- known incidents, forgotten genocides, mass atrocities, and war crimes. Much like in other social science disciplines, individual case studies and micro-narratives have gained prominence, effectively complementing larger narratives and, at times, challenging established paradigms. The role of colonial and imperial policies has come to the forefront in explaining these crimes, altering the traditional scientific basis. Memories and testimonies of survivors have been freed from their prejudicial labels and now hold an equal place in scholarly investigations.

Comparative genocide studies also remain a promising research method, despite recognition of certain inherent challenges.
Finally, there is an ongoing effort within the field of genocide studies to transition from a purely theoretical, descriptive, and analytical discipline into a practical and applied branch of science. While the prevention of genocides has not been successful, researchers persist in their endeavors, developing various models and delving deeper into the essence of the genocide phenomenon, contributing to the broader effort to combat these heinous acts.

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