Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session D4 2: Interpretations of the 10 Stages of Genocide Model
Thursday, 22/July/2021:
7:30pm - 9:00pm

Session Chair: Gregory Howard Stanton, Genocide Watch, United States of America
Location: Room 2


Interpretations of the 10 Stages of Genocide model

Chair(s): Gregory Howard Stanton (Genocide Watch, United States of America)

The 10 Stages of Genocide model was developed by Dr. Stanton and grew from his original 8 stages . This model is the primary method for which the non-profit Genocide Watch examines cases and issues alerts which are categorized as a (1) Watch (2) Warning, or (3) Emergency Alert . Since the model is accessible to the general public, there is a great deal of opportunity for interpretation and scholarly pursuit within the full model as well as each of the stages individually. Additionally, the non-linear nature of the model provides the opportunity to analyze historical instances of genocide and examine genocidal processes globally.

While the 10 Stages model demonstrates the genocidal process, each stage therein represents a process in itself. Therefore, each stage can be expanded significantly and interpreted in a variety of ways. Each one of these stages is connected to a wide array of academic literature and is inclusive and applicable to events that take place across a myriad of cultures. Genocide Watch already uses a holistic understanding of genocide to recognize events worldwide that constitute ongoing genocides in the latter stages of the model, including extermination (Stage 9). It is equally critical to examine the different methods adopted by states to incite earlier stages of genocidal processes, including classification, symbolization, dehumanization and polarization.


Presentations of the Symposium


“One would think Satan has invaded the place”: Toxifying Language and the Genocidal Process in Rwanda

Holly Scala
Genocide Watch

This paper, based on my recent Masters thesis, seeks to specify empirical differences between two types of rhetoric thought to contribute to the onset of genocide: dehumanization and toxification. It utilizes digitized radio transcripts from the Rwandan Genocide to test two propositions: that toxification and dehumanization are empirically distinguishable, and that toxification contributes to the onset and/or intensification of killings in a genocidal context. Results indicate that there are empirically demonstrable and measurable differences between dehumanization and toxification, but toxification does not contribute to the onset or intensification of genocide. Instead, the Rwandan case indicates toxification may be utilized as an attempt to motivate latent perpetrators to participate and justify the actions of those already participating in the genocide, as well as to attempt to maintain power in the face of perceived loss. This paper contributes to the literature on dehumanization and the uses of language and radio in genocide.


Recognizing Indirect Methods of Symbolization in Political Discourse & Identity Construction as a Precursor to Genocide

Thomas Shacklock
Genocide Watch

Within the Ten Stages model, symbolization (Stage 2) is usually understood as the application of symbols to groups to visually distinguish them from others. Nazi Germany imposed the Star of David on Jewish people, and Rwanda imposed ID cards on Tutsis. However, in many cases of genocide, processes of symbolization are less overt. Instead, powerful symbols or symbolic constructs associated with dominant groups are used more exclusively to establish perceptions of superiority. This can include references to protecting “traditional (religious) values” or the “nation state” in political discourse and the privileging of dominant groups’ cultural representation over that of others.

This presentation will demonstrate how the effects of this approach compare to those of directly symbolizing target groups. Symbols create simplified, visualized understandings of each group’s value in society. In turn, members of dominant groups develop biases and emotional responses to them. Dehumanization strategies can hence influence populations to perceive groups that do not correspond to images and ideas providing them with a sense of belonging, comfort, and security as threats. Broadening the recognition of symbolization processes to include more indirect, exclusive strategies of symbol manipulation can help identify later risks of genocide targeting a wider range of groups.


The 10 Stage Model Viewed as Gauging Genocidal Opportunity: Using Routine Activity Theory within Macro Level Risk Analysis

Eli J. Szydio
Genocide Watch

Criminological use of Routine Activities Theory provides a framework built on three main points, with a later addition of a fourth. These points describe the environment in which the opportunity for criminal behavior has a higher chance to occur. Using this same perspective, the 10 Stages of Genocide utilized by Genocide Watch is a similarly non-linear model that describes the types of environment in which the opportunity for genocide has an increased likelihood to occur. This demonstrates similarities to work published by Waller, describing further aspects that can commonly be seen in genocidal conflicts which will be discussed in the presentation.

This presentation proposes several visualizations of the 10 stages of genocide that can accommodate an opportunity-driven perspective. While there are stages that are present that qualify an incident as a full genocide, the visualizations provide the stages leading up to that point, along with how the watch, warning, and emergency statuses take key stages into account. Therefore, this presentation moves beyond modelling how the stages are utilized in issuing alerts of genocidal activity, a describing a method to understand the non-linear nature of the model. By utilizing an opportunity perspective, authors can better utilize these risk frameworks and use them to account for situations where only specific stages occur and manifest themselves in non-traditional sequences.


War in a Digital Age: Can Social Media Language Proliferate and Harbor Genocidal Intent? A Case Study of the Invasion of Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh in 2020

Sehnaz Guven
Genocide Watch

In the year 2020, COVID-19 took our digitalized age to the next level, when we also witnessed some of the most violent events of the decade. On social platforms, hate speech circulated quickly. Protests became more frequent. Funding became easier to access. This presentation analyzes the Azerbaijani invasion of the Republic of Artsakh. Since the invasion started in September 2020, countless social media posts were created by people from all around the world, sharing their opinions. This presentation will examine whether these online posts that people can share so freely can incite and harbor genocidal language within social media platforms and, therefore, generate genocidal incitement. The presentation will observe whether such use of social media constituted any of the first five stages of the 10 Stages of Genocide published by Dr. Gregory Stanton, I.e., Classification, Symbolization, Discrimination, Dehumanization, and Organization. While the model is non-linear, the early recognition of these stages is crucial in predicting and preventing genocides. The paper's examination of social platforms and the interaction of their users concludes that social media proliferated genocidal intent in the online audience during the occurrence of the war.