Article

‘Ethnic Cleansing’ versus Genocide?

Benjamin Lieberman

in The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199232116
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199232116.013.0003

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ versus Genocide?

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This article compares ethnic cleansing with genocide. Since the 1990s, ethnic cleansing has become one of the most widely known forms of violence directed against groups. Ethnic cleansing is related to genocide, but ethnic cleansing is focused more closely than genocide on geography and on forced removal of ethnic or related groups from particular areas. The greatest overlap between ethnic cleansing and genocide takes place when forced removal of population leads to a group's destruction. Ethnic cleansing is often a policy carried out by strong states to mould the population map, especially of border zones, but the breakup of such states also generates power struggles that can lead to ethnic cleansing. Another paradox is that partition or division of ethnically or religiously mixed states has been identified both as a cause of ethnic cleansing and as a possible remedy for ethnic cleansing.

Keywords: ethnic cleansing; genocide; group violence; ethnic conflict; forced migration; border zones

Article.  8300 words. 

Subjects: History ; Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing

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