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Annihilating DifferenceThe Anthropology of Genocide$
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Alexander Laban Hinton

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520230286

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520230286.001.0001

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The Cultural Face of Terror in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994

The Cultural Face of Terror in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994

(p.137) 6 The Cultural Face of Terror in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994
Annihilating Difference

Christopher C. Taylor

University of California Press

This chapter considers the argument that while political, socioeconomic, and historical factors played a crucial role in the Rwandan genocide, they still cannot explain why the violence was carried out in certain ways. It determines that this violence was deeply symbolic and even embodied a cultural patterning. This discussion emphasizes that Rwandan cultural knowledge did not “cause” the genocide, and that it is, in fact, variably internalized by Rwandans. This chapter also discusses the possibility that a great deal of the violence committed during the Rwandan genocide embodied the root metaphor of flow and blockage.

Keywords:   Rwandan genocide, violence, symbolic, cultural patterning, cultural knowledge, root metaphor, flow and blockage

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