Markers of Evil: The Identification & Prevention of Genocide

By:
Dr. Robert S. Fortner
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One conclusion that scholars reach, regardless of their discipline, is that genocide is evil. But they differ on the definitions of evil, and thus the markers to identify genocide, and on how the world might be able to prevent new outbreaks of such evil. Several questions intervene, including the nature of authentic evidence of genocide, the legality or appropriateness of violating state sovereignty to respond to genocide, and the question of who should bear the costs of response, among others. Political philosophers, evolutionary psychologists, socio-biologists, communication scholars and ethicists all have differing approaches to such issues, and since scholarship occurs following genocidal outbreaks, identification has been restricted to post hoc explanations, rather than to early warning markers and tactics to limit the deaths caused by genocide.

The result is that the declaration of world leaders in 1948 that genocide would occur “never again” has itself never prevented a genocide. Using an interdisciplinary approach to examining genocide, however, will provide the markers to identify genocide early, perhaps even prior to its outbreak, and thus new tools for the prevention of genocide.


Keywords: Genocide and its Prevention, Political Philosophy, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Communication Research, Evil, Genocide Convention 1948, Case Studies
Stream: Media and Communications
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Markers of Evil


Dr. Robert S. Fortner

Professor, Department of Communication Arts & Sciences, Calvin College
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

I work in international communication, including public diplomacy, and do economic analyses of the impact of new communications technologies, especially on identity and community. I also do research in communication ethics, especially in journalism, and teach in these areas, along with audio design, aesthetics, history, and communication theory. I work with various foreign universities, assisting in curriculum development, new teaching methodologies, and the application of digital production models. I also work with various international broadcasting organizations on research issues and have completed work for the Euroepan Union, the BBC, VOA, Radio Deutsche Welle, and InterSearch. I've published three books, with another coming out this year, and nearly 100 essays, research reports, monographs, and book chapters.

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