Rowman and Littlefield International

Examining Genocides

Means, Motive, and Opportunity

By Michael P. Jasinski

2 Reviews

Exploring case studies that cover various levels and instances of genocide, this book offers new insights to this highly researched field for scholars and students alike

Hardback ISBN: 9781783489176 Release date: Jun 2017
£85.00 €119.00 $133.00
Paperback ISBN: 9781783489183 Release date: May 2017
£29.95 €41.95 $45.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781783489190 Release date: May 2017
£29.95 €41.95 $42.50

Pages: 246


Mass killing through genocide haunts humanity as one of the most horrific forms of warfare. Scholars seek to understand what causes such violence, but it is still difficult to predict the onset of genocide. Why does violence sometime stop short of the genocide threshold, whilst others cross the threshold? Why do some genocides escalate to the point of triggering the state's collapse? Finally, why are some groups targeted and others spared?

Examining Genocide considers these questions by interrogating the interaction of three sets of conditions. These are: a societal crisis that creates a need for mass mobilization to “heal” the fractured public and address its material concerns; the stereotype associated with an “eligible target” for scapegoating; and the leadership preferences and skills of the chief executive of an authoritarian or poorly institutionalized state in question. Exploring case studies that cover various levels and instances of genocide, this book offers new insights to this highly researched field for scholars and students alike.

1. Introduction / 2. Genocide as Product of Means, Motive, and Opportunity / 3. Ottoman Empire and Turkey / 4. Germany in Two World Wars / 5. Eastern Europe and the Holocaust / 6. USSR and Cambodia / 7. The Rwanda Genocide / 8. Conclusions

Michael P. Jasinski is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh. He is author of Social Trust, Anarchy, and International Conflict (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and has published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution.

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2 Reviews

Examining Genocides is an attempt to understand events that seems to defy explanation. Jasinski (Univ. of Wisconsin-Oshkosh) takes a semi-legal perspective in his analysis, determining that genocide can occur only when there is proper means, motive, and opportunity. The window of opportunity consists of two elements—conditions in which scapegoating becomes advantageous and there is a collectivity available for scapegoating. However, opportunity alone is not enough for genocide to occur. After opportunity arises, there must be an intentional decision to exploit the opportunity, usually made by the political leaders of the country. Finally, the means to commit genocide must be within the control of the political entrepreneurs. After proposing these elements to genocide, Jasinski uses several cases of genocide to examine whether they follow the means, motive, opportunity trifecta. Jasinski’s material is interesting...Advanced students and scholars will find this work of interest. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students through faculty.


Lucidly written and cogently argued. Jasinski so perceptively identifies the forces at play that have led to the most heinous crimes of our era.

Shay Pilnik, Executive Director of the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Resource Center of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation

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