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Rebecca Sutton

2004 Research

Abstract: Politics of Genocide in the 1990's: Semantics and Ethnic Identity in Yugoslavia and Rwanda

Mentor: Dr. Kristin Edquist, Government & Sean Chabot, Sociology

The conflicts in Yugoslavia and Rwanda are in fact very different, but the similarities between the conflicts have been overlooked and not analyzed thoroughly enough. In both situations politics use ethnicity to purposely create conflict. The conflicts in Yugoslavia and Rwanda since 1990 illustrate the politics of genocide as related to ethnic identity and semantics, in turn influencing actions of the state within the international community. The conflicts occurred in overlapping time frames, demonstrating the complexity of ethnic identity in framing a conflict as well as the power inherent in, but also the political problems involved with labeling conflict - in Yugoslavia as "ethnic cleansing", in Rwanda as genocide. One of the similarities these situations share is neither term helped to make sense of the conflicts. The process of enacting ethnic cleansing policies is not different from policies of genocide. The importance of understanding the process as opposed to the terminology defines what the international community in law and in ideology will consider acceptable practices by the state upon its citizens in the 21 st century.

Presentations

University of DE McNair Conference & Graduate School Fair; Oct. 7-10, 2004

8th Annual Research & CW Symposium, EWU, May 18, 2005

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