This chapter considers how ideas, developed and transmitted globally by colonialism and imperialism, shaped actors' understanding of political community. It explores the far-reaching consequences of economic, political, and security crises rooted in regional conflicts and global processes of decolonization. The chapter also considers perpetrators' conceptual linking of victim groups to foreign influence and control. For some constructivist scholars, genocide is driven by conceptions of the victim group as "others" who are seen as completely foreign to the dominant society, while other scholars emphasize the dehumanization of the victim group. Other constructivist approaches focus on perpetrator conceptions of the victim group as a source of danger or threat that must be countered through physical destruction. Society-level structural theories identify several different socio-political structures that are said to be the principal precursors to genocide. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book.