1st Edition

Genocide Culture Cultural Habits, Ethnic Engineering and Religious Doxa

By Kaziwa Salih Copyright 2025
    318 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book considers different stages of Kurdish history, oppression, and genocide, through a critical lens offering an historiography of Iraq and of colonialism. Divided into two parts, the first part conceptualizes the term ‘genocide culture’ and examines dominant Iraqi cultural practices which fostered genocide. The second contextualizes the experiences of the Kurdish community to examine the effects of the cultural practices and the role of “civilian actors” in fuelling the extermination of targeted groups.

    Through semi-structured interviews, primary archival documents, and non-participant observation the author studies the links between everyday cultural practices and microaggression in general and the nexus between the state and general population in the implementation of macroaggression and genocide. The audience will include scholars and students interested in genocide studies and the relation of both genocide and culture to histories of colonialism as well as those working in the fields of violence and cultural psychology, sociology, history, ethnic conflict, and Middle Eastern studies.



    List of Abbreviations

    Notes on Translation




    1: Background: A Brief History of The Kurds    






    2: Introduction to Genocide Culture        

    Genocide culture, Civilian actors, Ethnic engineering


    3: Stimulation of Genocide Culture

    Tribalism, leader syndrome, structuration of public and private spheres


    4: The Inception of Genocide Culture

    Pre-Existing Culture, Moral Panic, and Iraqi Doxa


    5: The Evolution of Genocide Culture       

    Pan-Arab Nationalism, Sociopolitical Violence, and the Orientalization of the Outfield


    6: The Manifestation of Genocide Culture 

    Religious Doxa, Religio-Cultural Habitus, Deistic Ideology


    7:  Distinction of Genocide Culture from Cultural Genocide

    Culture Kills Culture; Acculturation; Bottom-Up Cascade






    8: The Institutionalization of Ba’athism, The Ba’athification Of Institutions

    Institutionalized Genocide Culture, Autopoietic Self-Reproducing, Militarized Society


    9: Genocide Culture Via Linguicide      

    Language Education Policy, Saddamist State, Death of linguistic capital


    10: Genocide Culture in Assimilative Education

    The Elimination of Illiteracy, The Ba’athification & Militarization of Education, Identification Numbering Policy


    11: Genocide Culture in Genocide of the Land, and Demographic Engineering

    Confiscation, Demographic Destruction, legalization of illegal actions.


    12: Conclusion                                                        



    Kaziwa Salih holds a Ph.D. from Queen’s University, Canada, where she specialized in the cultural sociology of genocide/ Violence and the way microaggressions foster macroaggression. She is the multiple award-winning author of over 10 non-fiction and fiction books and has written many articles and academic papers. She founded and served as the editor-in-chief of two Kurdish journals, Nvar and Newekar, and currently, she serves as the Collection Editor for Middle Eastern Studies at Lived Place Publishing. Her commitment to human rights is evident through her involvement with various organizations across Canada, Kurdistan, Egypt, and Syria, including notable contributions to the United Nations Association and Amnesty International.

    ‘Dr. Salih develops an original analysis of how group difference and eliminationist sentiment can be embedded in the cultural psychology of individuals and sociocultural institutions, facilitating the perpetration of genocide. Her book is one of the first to bring a sophisticated, theoretically informed genocide studies perspective to the study of Ba'athist genocides against Kurds.’

    Andrew Woolford, University of Manitoba, Canada

    ‘Kaziwa Salih examines the cultural roots of Kurdish genocides. Salih shows that political divisions cover deeper doxa (accepted beliefs) that fracture nations and empires.  Lemkin held that genocide is cultural. Kurdish genocides have been attempts to destroy Kurdish culture.’

    Gregory H. Stanton, Founding President, Genocide Watch

    ‘Genocide needs to be analyzed within the categories of classical sociology. Focusing on the case study of the Kurds in Iraq, Kaziwa Salih offers a great contribution to comprehending the functionality and objective of genocidal social practices and the role of culture in genocide.’

    Daniel Feierstein, National University of Tres de Febrero in Buenos Aires, Argentina.