Sociology as a discipline has always been slow to get involved with Holocaust and genocide studies since it was with the approach and practice of human rights. Irving Horowitz suggested that when it narrows down to factors such as human rights genocide and violations, many researchers in the feel that the topic may be unfit for any further scientific discourse (Horowitz, 1993). Sociology as a discipline has never been a significant element in informing people's comprehension of genocide as a concept or practice.
Many years before actual sociological commitment to genocide studies, the Holocaust was perceived as an ideal example as some even regarded it as the only reliable example when referring to genocide. Due to this bigotry towards the Holocaust, connected a legal scholarly emphasis on The UN Convention, which gave a significant perception of genocide, which emphasized on the issues of mass killings of specific groups under a state directive. Moreover, sociologists started to significantly contribute toward genocide studies with some of the regularly cited descriptions of the term 'genocide' that are from sociological studies since the 90s; a publication of Leo Kuper's seminal text was effected in 1981 (Waters, 2015).
Throughout several debates concerning genocide, main issues have been on various perceptions, some of which include the following: determining vulnerable groups capable of being victims of genocides. Regarding potential victim groups Palmer, for instance, finds out that the UN Convention description does not include special groups such as the disabled of the LGBT community; however, such a group seemed to be targeted by the Nazi and some political groups. Many of the social scientists have attempted to develop their definition of genocide to encompass a broader range of groups regardless of whether it is political, cultural collectivity.
Review Scholarship on Gender, Genocide, and Indigenous Peoples in Australia
Australia is one of the countries that had experienced the worst time of genocide during the British colonization era. The removal of Aborigine children led to great displeasure among the Aborigine community toward the Australian government. Due to the displeasures, the Story Books Movement was introduced by an advocacy organization (Australian for Native Title) as a way to encounter acts like the removal of Aborigine children. The organization further tried to address the negligence by the Australian government in initiative appropriate apologies to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.
The Sorry Books were able to collect almost half a million signatures and significant apologies to the victimized populations. The books were meant to act as a token of apology from the Australian non-Indigenous people for the injustices such as genocide experienced by the Indigenous people in the Colonization era. Genocide may be evaluated regarding the activities, action, or intention. Committing to genocide crime involves both mental and physical elements (Schabas & Schabas, 2000). Additionally, Schabas stated that the legal description of the Genocide Convention (1998) tended to identify the difference between actions and intentions of genocide.
Ian Kershaw further analyzed the issue of the actions and intent of genocide in the case of Hitler's Holocaust. In his discussion, he argued on the idea between 'Structuralism' and 'Internationalism.' It highlights on the intentions and aims of the transgressor that majorly count concerning genocide, while Structuralism analyses that in most cases of genocide, the initial intentions were never genocidal but rather as excesses of various policies of the government.
The Forced Removal Policy of Aborigine and mixed-race Aborigine children can be perceived as a systematic genocide and intentional since the policymakers needed to assimilate and alter ethnic identities to the Aborigine children via a well-ordered policy structured to manipulate their identities. Different strategies that were employed to execute the policies, for instance, Crossbreeding were encouraged in which there was a marriage between mixed-race women and white men (Australian White Settlers); the sterilization of all half-castes was also supported.
Krieken (1998) provides his own version of the definition of cultural genocide as the harm by a savage manner to the particular features of the targeted group. He also demonstrated that cultural genocide was not merely a forced assimilation; however, it was aiming at attaining a swift and absolute extinction of the moral, social and religious life of a specified target group of a population.
Nonetheless, cultural genocide in Australia was solely focused on the Aborigine and mixed-race children to able to assimilate them into European civilization effectively. Regardless of the form that genocide assumes, whether mental or physical, genocide, a crime against humanity and war are considered as some of the international barbarity crimes. Aborigines were frequently selected and liquidated because of their race, ethnicity and were perceived to impede civilization progress in Australia, especially in some places like Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.
The British colonization of Australia was ethnocide and dangerous for the Aborigines (Moses, 2004). These could be the same reasons that made the Europeans massacre to Aborigines because they feared the unknown. Such memory is what collectively configures the conduct of the Aborigine population towards the current government of Australia.
Banda, F., & Chinkin, C. M. (2004). Gender, Minorities, and Indigenous Peoples (p. 40). London: Minority Rights Group International.
Horowitz, I. L. (1993). The decomposition of sociology. Oxford University Press.
Moses, A. D. (Ed.). (2004). Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History (Vol. 6). Berghahn Books.
Schabas, W. A., & Schabas, W. (2000). Genocide in International Law: The Crimes of Crimes. Cambridge University Press.
Van Krieken, R. (1998). Norbert Elias. Psychology Press.
Waters, G. (2015). Liberalism interruptus: Leo Kuper and the Durban School of oppositional empirical sociology of the 1950s and 1960s. Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa, 88(1), 43-61.
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