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Ideology and Mass Killing


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Table of Contents

1: Introduction 2: Clarifying Ideology 3: How Does Ideology Explain Mass Killing? 4: The Hardline Justification of Mass Killing 5: Stalinist Repression 6: Allied Area Bombing in World War II 7: Mass Killing in Guatemala's Civil War 8: The Rwandan Genocide 9: Conclusion

About the Author

Jonathan Leader Maynard is a Lecturer in International Politics in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2014, where he was also the Rank-Manning Junior Research Fellow and then Departmental Lecturer in International Relations at New College between 2013 and 2020. He has published in leading international journals including the Journal of Peace Research, Ethics, the British Journal of Political Science, and Terrorism and Political Violence.


In explaining why states or armed groups employ extreme violence, Jonathan Leader Maynard questions the sufficiency of dominant rationalist accounts and argues for ideology's central role. He rejects associations of ideology with revolutionary fanaticism, arguing that the key ideological foundations of mass killing are radical reinterpretations of conventional ideas about security. This ambitious and elegantly written book not only offers a fresh conceptualization of ideology, but also demonstrates through careful comparative historical analysis how ideologies shape the goals, organization, and legitimation of mass killing. It is essential reading for all those interested in understanding and preventing atrocity crimes. * Jennifer Welsh, Professor of Global Governance and Security, McGill University, and former Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on the Responsibility to Protect *
In this excellent book, Jonathan Leader Maynard develops a powerful argument about the centrality of ideology to the occurrence of mass killing and genocide. The book takes us farther than previous scholarship in showing how ideology drives the selection and perpetration of mass atrocity. A major contribution to the study of violence, the work should be read widely as a rigorous account of how and why ideas matter in shaping political outcomes * Scott Straus, Professor of Political Science at the University of California-Berkeley and author of Making and Unmaking Nations *
Either dismissed as causally inconsequential or else overstated as the paramount factor, the role of ideology in mass killings has long been a bone of scholarly contention. Jonathan Leader Maynard brings a welcome fresh perspective to this debate and offers a new theory of how and why ideology matters in such violence. We should stop picking sides - strategic security objectives are entirely reconcilable with extremist beliefs. This book explains in legible English the various ways in which ideology operated for the architects and executioners of violence in places as disparate as the Soviet Union, Guatemala, and Rwanda. It will bring much-needed momentum to the debate and move it forward. * Omar McDoom, Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science *

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