The collective dynamics of racial dehumanization and genocidal victimization in Darfur

John Hagan*, Wenona Rymond-Richmond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Sociologists empirically and theoretically neglect genocide. In this article, our critical collective framing perspective begins by focusing on state origins of race-based ideology in the mobilization and dehumanization leading to genocide. We elaborate this transformative dynamic by identifying racially driven macro-micro-macro-level processes that are theoretically underdeveloped and contested in many settings. We investigate generic processes by exploiting an unprecedented survey of refugees from the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Our focus is on the Sudanese government's crisis framing of a dehumanizing collective process. Sudanese forces joined with Janjaweed militia to attack black African settlements. They aggregated and concentrated racial epithets in a collective process of dehumanization and organized terror, which amplified the severity of genocidal victimization, the lethal and lasting scar of the genocidal state. Our findings question primordial and counter-insurgency explanations, while supporting aspects of the instrumental, population-resource, constructionist, and cognitive perspectives that form the foundation of our critical collective framing perspective. It has been more than 50 years since Sutherland famously added white-collar crime to public sociology, radically reordering discourse about crime. It is time to do the same with Raphael Lemkin's concept of genocide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-902
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Sociological Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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