Torture Research

Resurgence of 20th Century Torture

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I argued (Einolf 2007) that three aspects of twentieth century politics explain the great increase in torture during that century. First, changes in the quantity, intensity, and nature of military conduct have led to an increase of torture of prisoners of war and the civilian populations of occupied territories. Second, the prevalence of civil conflicts in states divided along racial, ethnic, and religious lines. Third, changes in the nature of the sovereign have brought about an expanded definition of treason, and states have also become more effective at monitoring and prosecuting treason. As far as I know, no other scholar has tried to explain the high prevalence of torture in the twentieth century in a systematic way.

Einolf, Christopher J. 2007. “The Fall and Rise of Torture: A Comparative and Historical Analysis.” Sociological Theory 25(2). 101-121.

Written by tortureresearch

January 27, 2010 at 7:57 pm

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