Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Mcloughlin, S. & Mayersen, D. (2013). Reconsidering root causes: a new framework for the structural prevention of genocide and mass atrocities. In B. Ingelaere, S. Parmentier, J. Haers & B. Segaert (Eds.), Genocide, Risk and Resilience: An Interdisciplinary Approach (pp. 49-67). New York, United States: Palgrave Macmillan.


'Structural prevention ... comprises strategies to address the root causesof deadly conflict,' observed the Carnegie Commission in the seminalreport, Preventing Deadly Conflict (Hamburg and Vance, 1997: 69). Thisstatement succinctly defines the dominant paradigm within researchinto the causes and prevention of genocide and mass atrocities. Extremeviolence has been perceived as resulting from the cumulative effect ofmultiple risk factors or root causes. Prevention, therefore, requires thetimely identification and deconstruction of these causal factors. Thisparadigm has been very successful in identifying a number of the longtermcauses of genocide and mass atrocities, such as the presence of an'outgroup' and the existence of internal strife within societies. Similarly,it has led to the identification of a range of preventive actions thatmay mitigate these risk factors, such as legislation to protect vulnerableminorities.