chapter  39
10 Pages

Making sense of the senseless

ByMichael Barnett

There emerged debates about what did and did not count as a genocide, and for those questionable or "not quite" cases there emerged new kinds of terms such as war crimes, mass killings, and atrocity crimes. With all these new categories of mass killing deserving attention, there were more cases to study. The creation of data sets invariably raised questions about what case of mass killing deserved recognition. And recognition is important not just for historical completeness but also for politics. Genocide, after all, was not just another type of mass killing, but rather one that demanded more attention than other types of killing. The field of genocide studies has come a long way in two decades. There is now a fairly robust field. There are enough cases and data to construct and debate theories of genocide and mass atrocities.