The European Legacy 21 (2):145-167 (2016)

Joshua D. Goldstein
University of Calgary
Explanations of the violence perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979 in Cambodia often conflate two events: the far-ranging and self-destructive violence within the revolutionary Party, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands of cadres, and the larger genocidal destruction of so-called “counter-revolutionary” classes and ethnic minorities. The exterminationist violence inflicted within the Khmer Rouge organization itself is perplexing, for its shape and sequence cannot be explained by theories of mass violence in the current literatures on genocide or state terror. Our aim in this article is twofold. First, we show how key features of a theory of limitless, exterminationist, and ultimately self-destructive violence are contained within G.W.F. Hegel’s obscure analysis of the Terror of the French Revolution. Second, this Hegelian theory of exterminationist violence with a particular model of modern consciousness at its heart, can account for the transformation of typical forms of r..
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DOI 10.1080/10848770.2015.1129842
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