25 May 2009

Genocide: Criminological and CJ Perspectives

The June, 2009 issue of International Criminal Justice Review is a special issue devoted to genocide (defined here as the mass murder of people based on a specific agenda). It is guest edited by Professor John Winterdyk, who also serves as the outgoing chair (2009) of the International Section for the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). In his Introduction to the special issue, Professor Winterdyk notes that: "this is the first time a mainstream criminology/criminal justice journal has dedicated an entire issue to the subject of genocide."

He begins by tracing the history of interest (or absence of interest) in genocide among criminal justice scholars, sharing the regret expressed by Day and Vandiver (2000) “that criminology, by largely ignoring the crime of genocide, has missed opportunities to both contribute to the field of genocide studies and to improve the specification of its own ideas” (p. 43). George Yacoubian examined papers presented at meeting of the American Society of Criminology (ASC) and ACJS as well as major criminology journals between 1990 and 1998, finding the topic of genocide to be all but absent from the agenda. A re-examination of ASC and ACJS conferences since 2000 shows a similar trend.

A key objective among the authors in organizing this special issue is "to promote and encourage the study of genocide by criminologists and other scholars by publishing theoretical and empirical studies of genocide."

His introduction briefly reviews the scope of genocide's global importance and challenge, citing data to show that throughout history - including in the 20th Century, the number of deaths from genocide have dramatically outpaced deaths resulting from war. He reviews some of the major international definitions and describes how the field of genocide studies has gown in other disciplines and academic sectors.

He concludes with a synopsis of each of the six articles comprising the special issue, offering his hope that they show "there is considerable work that can be done by academics within criminology and criminal justice to help address and ameliorate genocide from happening in the future."

ResearchBlogging.orgWinterdyk, J. (2009). Genocide: International Issues and Perspectives Worthy of Criminal Justice Attention International Criminal Justice Review, 19 (2), 101-114 DOI: 10.1177/1057567709334217

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