Mass violence is one of the defining phenomena of the twentieth century, which some have even called the 'century of genocides'. The study of how the dead body is treated can lead us to an understanding of the impact of mass violence on contemporary societies. Corpses of mass violence and genocide, especially when viewed from a biopolitical perspective, force one to focus on the structures of the relations between all that participates in the enfolding case study. Argentina is an extraordinary laboratory in the domain of struggle against impunity and of 'restoration of the truth'. It constitutes a useful paradigm in the context of reflection on the corpses of mass violence. Its special character, in the immediate aftermath of the military dictatorship, is to test almost the entirety of juridical mechanisms in the handling of state crimes. The trigger for both the intercommunal violence and the civil war was the mass murders by the Ustaša. This book discusses the massacres carried out by the Ustaša in Croatia during the Second World War. After a brief presentation of the historical background, the massacres carried out by the Ustaša militia and their corpse disposal methods are described. Using Rwanda as a case study, the book proposes an agenda for ethnographic research to explore the relationship between concealment and display in contexts of genocide. This relationship is explored in detail after a discussion of the historical background to the 1994 genocide.
The book explores the relationship between violence against women on one hand,
and the rights to health and reproductive health on the other. It argues that
violation of the right to health is a consequence of violence, and that (state)
health policies might be a cause of – or create the conditions for – violence
against women. It significantly contributes to feminist and international human
rights legal scholarship by conceptualising a new ground-breaking idea, violence
against women’s health (VAWH), using the Hippocratic paradigm as the backbone of
the analysis. The two dimensions of violence at the core of the book – the
horizontal, ‘interpersonal’ dimension and the vertical ‘state policies’
dimension – are investigated through around 70 decisions of domestic, regional
and international judicial or quasi-judicial bodies (the anamnesis). The concept
of VAWH, drawn from the anamnesis, enriches the traditional concept of violence
against women with a human rights-based approach to autonomy and a reflection on
the pervasiveness of patterns of discrimination (diagnosis). VAWH as theorised
in the book allows the reconceptualisation of states’ obligations in an
innovative way, by identifying for both dimensions obligations of result, due
diligence obligations, and obligations to progressively take steps (treatment).
The book eventually asks whether it is not international law itself that is the
ultimate cause of VAWH (prognosis).
This book looks at the theoretical issue of how a democracy can defend itself from those wishing to subvert or destroy it without being required to take measures that would impinge upon the basic principles of the democratic idea. It links social and institutional perspectives to the study, and includes a case study of the Israeli response to Jewish extremism and violence, which tests the theoretical framework outlined in the first chapter. There is an extensive diachronic scrutiny of the state's response to extremist political parties, violent organizations and the infrastructure of extremism and intolerance within Israeli society. The book emphasises the dynamics of the response and the factors that encourage or discourage the shift from less democratic and more democratic models of response.
The biopolitics of corpses of mass
violence and genocide
For the past four decades, students of biopolitics have been probing
why the spectacular growth in the application of technologies
and policies that aim at the optimization of human life has been
articulated with a parallel proliferation of human death. Various
studies have been suggesting many objects or sites that are arguably
highly symptomatic of the issue at hand – a privileged epitome of
the biopolitical quandary. The most famous of these is the camp
Atrocities that befell Ethiopia during the Dergue regime (1974–91) targeted both
the living and the dead. The dead were in fact at the centre of the Dergue’s
violence. Not only did the regime violate the corpses of its victims, but it
used them as a means to perpetrate violence against the living, the complexity
of which requires a critical investigation. This article aims at establishing,
from the study of Ethiopian law and practice, the factual and legal issues
pertinent to the Dergue’s violence involving the dead. It also examines the
efforts made to establish the truth about this particular form of violence as
well as the manner in which those responsible for it were prosecuted and
Since the early 1990s, armed actors have invaded territories in the Chocó and Antioquia
departments of Colombia, inhabited by Afro-Colombians and Indians whose collective rights
in these territories had recently been legally recognised. Based on long-term fieldwork
among the Emberá Katío, this article examines social, cosmological and ritual alterations
and re-organisation around violent death. Following a national policy of post-conflict
reparations, public exhumations and identifications of human remains reveal new local
modes of understanding and administration. In particular, suicide, hitherto completely
unknown to the Emberá, broke out in a multitude of cases, mostly among the youth. Local
discourse attributes this phenomenon to the number of stray corpses resulting from the
violence, who are transformed into murderous spirits which shamans can no longer control.
The analysis focusses on the unprecedented articulation of a renewed eschatology, the
intricate effects of an internal political reorganisation and the simultaneous inroad into
their space of new forms of armed insurrectional violence. Thus the article will shed
light on the emergence of a new transitional moral economy of death among the Emberá.
Mercenaries are fighters who operate under special conditions. Their presence, as
shadow combatants, often tends to exacerbate the violence of their enemies.
That’s why the analysis focuses on the singularity of the relationship to
death and ‘procedures’ concerning the corpses of their fallen
comrades. As a fighter identified and engaged in landlocked areas, the
mercenary’s corpse is treated according to material constraints
pertaining in the 1960s. After violence on their body, and evolution towards the
secret war, mercenaries favour the repatriation of the body or its
disappearance. These new, painful conditions for comrades and families give
birth to a collective memory fostered by commemorations.
In discussions of conflict, war and political violence, dead bodies count. Although the
politics and practices associated with the collection of violent-death data are seldom
subject to critical examination, they are crucial to how scholars and practitioners think
about how and why conflict and violence erupt. Knowledge about conflict deaths – the who,
what, where, when, why and how – is a form of expertise, created, disseminated and used by
different agents. This article highlights the ways in which body counts are deployed as
social facts and forms of knowledge that are used to shape and influence policies and
practices associated with armed conflict. It traces the way in which conflict-death data
emerged, and then examines critically some of the practices and assumptions of data
collection to shed light on how claims to expertise are enacted and on how the public
arena connects (or not) with scholarly conflict expertise.
Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal is a biannual,
peer-reviewed publication which draws together the different strands of academic
research on the dead body and the production of human remains en masse, whether
in the context of mass violence, genocidal occurrences or environmental
disasters. Inherently interdisciplinary, the journal publishes papers from a
range of academic disciplines within the humanities, social sciences and natural
sciences. Human Remains and Violence invites contributions from scholars working
in a variety of fields and interdisciplinary research is especially welcome.
On 25 September 1911 the battleship Liberté exploded in
Toulon harbour. This tragedy is just one of the many disasters that the French
fleet suffered at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth
centuries and also represents the peak of these calamities, since it is
undoubtedly the most deadly suffered by a French Navy ship in peacetime. The aim
of this article is to study how the navy managed this disaster and the resulting
deaths of service personnel, which were all the more traumatic because the
incident happened in France’s main military port and in circumstances
that do not match the traditional forms of death at sea.