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Putting Environmental Stress (Back) on the Mass Atrocities Agenda
Policy Analysis Brief
Research on the direct links between demographic-environmental stressors and mass atrocities is nascent. This leaves policymakers without a coherent conceptual model of how issues such as land, water, and food scarcity, or feared shortages, might catalyze mass killings.
In this policy analysis brief, Cullen Hendrix, associate professor at the Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, proposes a plausible conceptual model that identifies structural and actor-contingent factors linking demographic-environmental stress to mass killings. Hendrix recommends comprehensive testing of the model and various policy interventions that might help the international community be better prepared to prevent tragic events.
According to Hendrix, the model suggests demographic-environmental stress is more likely to result in mass atrocities in societies marked by high groupness and political institutions that do not constrain the executive or guarantee minority groups a say in policy formation. However, many societies with these characteristics have been able to avoid mass atrocities. Thus, Hendrix concludes that the choices that powerful political actors make about inclusive national narratives often determine whether societies with high groupness and exclusive political institutions experience mass atrocities.
The Spring 2017 issue of Courier provides insight and perspective on different global policy areas, including mass atrocity prevention in the Gambia and climate change agricultural innovation in Morocco. This issue also features a special look at the global order by Stanley Foundation president, Keith Porter; a feature on the struggle of a Somalian refugee hoping to resettle in the US; and a Q&A from our latest explorer award winner. The full Spring 2017 issue. PDF (1,151K) Subscribe for FREE.
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