Graduate Student Emilee Adams Examines Social Control Elements Of Two Well-Known Genocides for Class Research

Emilee explored two of the most well-known genocides, the Rwandan Genocide and the Holocaust, and compared many of the sociological elements through the lens of both formal and informal social control. This research compares two seemingly unalike and unrelated events and instead connects them in a new and informative manner, and a preview of the paper is available in the abstract below.


“The Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide are two of the most commonly discussed genocides, but through the lens of social control, they are similar in the way their respective genocides occurred. Social control is often referred to as both formal and informal controls, some of which we subconsciously obey. Often rooting their perspectives in Black’s theory of pure sociology, genocides can tend to be broken down into social geometry, top down, bottom-up violence, and obedience. In order for a genocide to arise, the nation has to be primed for violence, and the citizen’s must slowly be pushed into hatred for the victimized groups. In both cases, the Nazi government, as well as the Hutu, primed sparked hatred for the opposing groups and encourages degrees of separation. Once sparking this hatred, the government encourages citizen’s to take action and creates a system of both top-down and bottom-up violence. By maintaining pluralistic ignorance, citizens can often ignore the genocide unless they become active participants. Immediately following the genocide, ranking officers tend to claim obedience to a higher order. Differing authors believe that their respective opinions is the sole determinate of genocides, but realistically all perspectives need to work in unison for a genocide to occur.”