The Marginalised in Genocide Narratives: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Marginalised in Genocide Narratives

1st Edition

By Giorgia Dona


208 pages

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Hardback: 9781138839908
pub: 2019-05-09
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2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide. This volume, the product of over twenty years of engagement with Rwanda and its diaspora, offers a timely reminder of the necessity of rethinking the genocide’s social history.

Examining a range of marginal stories and using Rwanda as a case study, The Marginalized in Genocide Narratives’ analysis of the transformation of genocide into a powerful narrative of a nation establishes an innovative means of understanding the lived spaces of violence and its enduring legacy. In a distinctive approach to the social history of genocide, this book engages with the marginalised, foregrounds genocide’s untold stories; and uses the conceptual framework of the constellation of genocide narratives to create connections among multiple social actors and identify narrative themes that address the unequal power and interdependence of narratives.

Adopting a multi-level narrative methodology that addresses the value of multiple narrative framings for understanding genocides, The Marginalized in Genocide Narratives will appeal to students and researchers interested in sociology, conflict and peace studies history, African studies and narrative research. It may also appeal to policy makers interested in genocide studies and contemporary social history.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 Introduction: Narrating Genocide and the Genocide Narrative


Narrating genocides: victims, perpetrators and the marginalised others

The formation of the genocide master–narrative

The constellation of genocide narratives

Examining narrative engagements

The Rwandan genocide and Rwanda Studies

Situating narratives methodologically

Narrative methodology in post-conflict contexts

Overview of the book


Chapter 2 The formation of the foundational genocide master––narrative


The formation of the master––narrative of the Genocide against the Tutsi

The naming narrative of the Genocide against the Tutsi

The commemorative narrative and the rescapé

The justice narrative and the génocidaire*

The narrative of reconciliation and national unity of the Banyarwanda*

The genocide as the foundational master––narrative*

Counter master––narrative of war*

Naming the war, the massacres and the victims*

The commemorative narrative and the innocents

The (un-just) justice narrative and the perpetrators of all crimes*

The (dis)-unity narrative: divisionism and authoritarianism*

The marginalised voices


Chapter 3 Reframing culpability, shame and guilt: Non-perpetrator members of the perpetrator group*


A brief overview of shame and guilt*

Naming culpability, shame and guilt: non-perpetrator members of the perpetrator group*

Challenging moral culpability through ordinary morality*

Revisiting culpability: resistance, choice and power*

Non—involvement, passive resistance and the génocidaires*

Lack of assistance and the rescapés*

Collective and individual responsibility and the "innocentées"*

The narrative of national unity and reconciliation: everyday relations and values*

Living reconciliation*


Chapter 4 Revisiting the figure of the heroic rescuer: communal rescue, care, and resistance*


Rescuers and rescuing activities*

Naming the public figure of the rescuer: individual, exceptional, heroic*

From exceptional heroes to communities of care*

The ordinary people behind the heroic saviours*

The communal rescue narrative: care and resistance*

The ambivalent legacy of rescuing*

Revisiting the figure of the heroic saviour*

Reframing exceptionalism*

Embedding rescuing activities*


Chapter 5 Families of mixed ethnic backgrounds: The intimate burden of those caught in––between the politics of ethnic identity*


Ethnically mixed families during and after conflict*

The erasure of the "mixed" constituent in public narratives*

Rethinking the proxy categories of rescapé, génocidaire and orphelin du génocide*

Children of mixed ethnicity during and after genocide*

Revisiting the category orphelin du génocide*

Caught in ––between: narrating the intimate burden of "mixed" belonging*

The narrative legacy of the genocide*

Crossing the ethnic divide: empathy, support and unity*

Articulating and reclaiming the "mixed"*


Chapter 6 Marginalisation and survival of the other minority group


Minorities and conflict

Naming the outside onlooker

Questioning the onlooker narrative: the insider and the struggle for survival

The onlooker in the single conflict narrative and the insider in the multiple narratives of conflict

The struggle for existential survival

Post––genocide narratives: from autochthones to historically marginalised

The justice narrative: doubly victimized

The narrative of national unity: the struggle for symbolic survival

De––centering the genocide narrative: national progress, vulnerability and material survival


Chapter 7 Civilian returnees: intra––ethnic differences and continuities with the past and exile


Long––distance nationalism and the post––return reality

The Hamitic narrative: histories of mobility and belongin

The Rwandan Patriotic Front: the voice of the Tutsi refugees in exile

The hegemony of the RPF––led national narrative and the diverse stories of the civilian returnees

Breaking down the Tutsi returnees single story: differences, criticisms and mistrust

Revisiting the narrative of the "new" Rwanda: continuities with the past and exile

Continuities with exile and social transformations: language, religion and work ethic


Chapter 8 The revised constellation of genocide narratives and the untold social history of genocides


The marginalised voices in the narrative constellation

Revisiting the constellation of genocide narratives

The untold story of the genocide: "continuity, embeddedness and the everyday"

Narrative engagement: agency and dialogical strategies

Rewriting the social history of the genocide that took place in Rwanda

The "old" and "new" Rwanda: continuities, ruptures and value––laden meanings

Breaking down the overlap of ethnic and social identities of victim and perpetrator

The legacy of the genocide on post––genocide Rwanda

Future research: expanding and applying the constellation of genocide narratives




About the Author

Giorgia Donà is co-director of the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Sociology

This series presents cutting-edge developments and debates within the field of sociology. It provides a broad range of case studies and the latest theoretical perspectives, while covering a variety of topics, theories and issues from around the world. It is not confined to any particular school of thought.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General