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  • Representing Mass Violence

    Conflicting Responses to Human Rights Violations in Darfur

    Joachim Savelsberg

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    How do UN Security Council and International Criminal Court interventions, both part of the “justice cascade,” color representations of mass violence? What images of suffering and of responsible actors arise instead from the humanitarianism and diplomacy fields? And how do mass media communicate these competing perspectives to the public? Answers to these questions matter, because these representations affect the responses to mass violence, including genocide. Focusing on the case of Darfur in the early twenty-first century, this book provides answers, comparatively, for eight Western countries. Comprehensive analysis of around 3,400 news reports, opinion pieces, and in-depth interviews with the Africa correspondents of leading newspapers, with NGO experts from Amnesty International and Doctors without Borders, and with foreign ministry officials provide the evidence. The book describes how representations of mass violence differ across social fields. It demonstrates that judicial interventions affect the representation of mass violence in all countries. It simultaneously documents that the inclination of subscribing to the criminalizing frame and using the genocide label varies substantially across countries. The book provides explanations for these patterns. It thus contributes to our understanding of how the world, especially the Global North, acknowledges and frames violence in the Global South, specifically in Africa.

    “A pathbreaking examination of the multiple international narratives around Darfur by human rights advocates, humanitarians, journalists, and diplomats. Thorough and rigorous—an essential contribution to the scholarship.”
    — ALEX DE WAAL, Executive Director, World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School, Tufts University

    “Darfur is the modern genocide that refuses to end, and this volume gives this mass atrocity the attention it deserves. It does so in highly original ways, including an unprecedented global analysis of media coverage, activism, and advocacy.” — JOHN HAGAN, John D. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and Law at Northwestern University and Co-Director of the Center on Law and Globalization at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago

    “Joachim Savelsberg’s engagement with the critics of the human rights regime, coupled with his analysis of media representations and their national variations (and similarities), provides a perspective that is more encompassing than anything I am aware of.” — DANIEL LEVY, Professor of Sociology at Stony Brook University

    JOACHIM J. SAVELSBERG is Professor of Sociology and Law and Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair at the University of Minnesota. He is the coauthor of American Memories: Atrocities and the Law and author of Crime and Human Rights: Criminology of Genocide and Atrocities.

    Language: English


    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.4

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    How to cite this book
    Savelsberg, J. 2015. Representing Mass Violence: Conflicting Responses to Human Rights Violations in Darfur. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.4

    This is an Open Access book distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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