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ethnic cleansing

  A form of mass genocide associated with the violent removal of an ethnic group from a particular political space or homeland in order to secure spatial homogenization and the subsequent colonization by the perpetrating state or ethnic group. In the case of the Jewish Holocaust, in which six million European Jews perished as a result of Nazi policies of ethnic cleansing, this end-stage was achieved in three stages: first, the denial of citizenship; second, forced ghettoization (see ghetto) into particular parts of cities; and, finally, transportation to death camps. A distinction should be made between state and frontier ethnic cleansing (McGarry and O\'Leary, 1993; Palmer, 1998). The former — state genocide — is more likely to occur when: (a) an empire is being constructed and maintained (e.g. Nazi Germany: cf. imperialism); (b) a racialized ideology can be appropriated in which the ends justify the means; (c) an ethnic community lacks geo-political resources (e.g. Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo; Jews in Nazi Germany); (d) a subordinate ethnic community is left vulnerable within a disintegrating system of control, whether organized by an empire or authoritarian state (e.g. former Yugoslavia); and (e) the relevant state is not democratic. In contrast, in frontier genocide the state or empire may not be directly implicated. Here, settlers possess technologically superior resources to \'clear\' victims from their homelands. Besides understanding the rationality of the perpetrators and of how they ethnicize or racialize the victim as \'the other\', one other main issue concerns the role that \'bystanders\' play in a phenomenon such as the Holocaust (e.g. Cole and Smith, 1995). (GES)

References and Suggested Reading Bauman, Z. 1989: Modernity and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bell-Fialkoff, A. 1993: A Brief history of ethnic cleansing. Foreign Affairs, 72 (3): 110-21. Cole, T. and Smith. G. 1995: Ghettoisation and the Holocaust. Budapest 1944. Journal of Historical Geography 21 (3): 300-18. Hayden, R. 1996: Imagined communities and real victims of self-determination and ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia. American Ethnologist, 23 (4): 783-801. McGarry, B. and O\'Leary, B., eds, 1993: The politics of ethnic conflict regulation. London: Routledge; Palmer, A. 1998: Colonial and modern genocide: explanations and categories. Ethnic and Racial Studies 21 (1): 89-115.



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