Gender and Genocide

Elisa von Joeden‐Forgey

in The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199232116
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743696 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Gender and Genocide

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  • Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing
  • Gender and Sexuality


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This article aims to shows that a consideration of gender is crucial to the understanding of the crime of genocide, because genocide is an historical process that is, at its core, about group reproduction. The perpetrators must either annul reproduction within the group or appropriate the progeny in order to destroy the group in the long run. While the perpetrators' ultimate aim is the material destruction of the target group, the means used to achieve this end tend to target men and women according to their perceived and actual positions within the reproductive process. As part of the killing, then, one finds in all genocides a shared set of tortures involving generative symbols and institutions (reproductive organs, infants and small children, and the bonds that promote family coherence).

Keywords: rape; sexual exploitation; group reproduction; torture; family coherence; gender issues

Article.  9142 words. 

Subjects: Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing ; Gender and Sexuality

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