Sociology Index


The term CULTURAL GENOCIDE comes from the word ‘gens’, meaning a clan or community of people related by common descent. The idea of cultural genocide implies the process of undermining, suppressing, and ultimately eliminating, native cultures. The deliberate destruction of the cultural heritage of a people or nation for political or military reasons is also termed as cultural genocide.

The `Stolen Generations' and Cultural Genocide - The Forced Removal of Australian Indigenous Children from their Families and its Implications for the Sociology of Childhood - ROBERT VAN KRIEKEN, University of Sydney - Childhood, Vol. 6, No. 3, 297-311 (1999)

It was cultural genocide when Australian government authorities assumed legal guardianship of all Indigenous children and removed large numbers of them from their families in order to 'assimilate' them into European society and culture. This policy has been described as cultural genocide, even though at the time it was presented by state authorities as being 'in the best interests' of Aboriginal children.

Earthen Spirituality or Cultural Genocide?: Radical Environmentalism's Appropriation of Native American Spirituality - Taylor B, Source: Religion, Volume 27, Number 2, April 1997
Abstract: The appropriation by non-Indians of Native American religious practices has become a highly contentious phenomenon. The present analysis focuses on the controversy as it has unfolded within the Deep Ecology or Radical Environmental Movement in North America.

Morsink, Johannes "Cultural Genocide, the Universal Declaration, and Minority Rights"
Human Rights Quarterly - Volume 21, Number 4, Nov. 1999, The Johns Hopkins University Press
Excerpt: This essay will show how the drafting of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights overlapped in a significant manner. That overlap helps explain why neither of these documents directly addresses the crime of cultural genocide. The drafters of the Genocide Convention severely weakened the prevention part of their goal when they cut out of their document the prohibition and punishability of acts of cultural genocide. Prohibition was in the first draft of the Genocide Convention. During the drafting process, it was clear that the communist and Arab delegations favored a cultural genocide article for the Genocide Convention as well as a minority rights article for the Universal Declaration.
Having witnessed Hitler's acts of ethnic cleansing first-hand, the Western delegates understood the connection between cultural genocide and physical genocide, which the communist and Arab delegations were making. They argued, however, that the right place to make that connection was in the Universal Declaration and not in the Genocide Convention itself. Therefore, they voted to delete the cultural genocide prohibition from the Convention on the promise that they would support a similar measure for the Universal Declaration.

The Puzzle of Genocide - Freeman, Michael 
Recognizes the difficulties involved in trying to define the term "genocide" and how concepts such as "cultural genocide" and "political genocide" affect debate on the subject. Argues that to be clearly understood, cultural genocide or political genocide must be defined widely enough to identify appropriate cases, yet narrowly enough that it is not trivialized.

Cultural Genocide - A Prelude/Counter-part of Genocide? 
Pamela de Condappa, King's College
Cultural genocide is an emotive and controversial schema that must be qualified to the strictest possible degree. This paper seeks to discuss and define the problematic concept of Cultural genocide. Acknowledging that the term genocide is itself affected by legal, political and culturally specific considerations, genocide is most simply defined as the intent to destroy in whole or in part a racial, ethnic, religious, or national group as such, by killing members of the group or imposing conditions inimical to survival (Kuper 1994:32).
I argue that this process may involve symbolically pertinent culture within the context of a particular cultural landscape. Thus symbols of culture associated with the identity of a particular group, which has been subjected to destruction/redefinition as part of a widespread and planned strategy, in turn renegotiating the identity of other group(s) in conflict with the initial group, is potentially comparable to the processes that define cultural genocide. This therefore constitutes a type of cultural genocide.
Accepting the above premise, attention must then be drawn to the potentially critical role that archaeologists and anthropologists, with invaluable experience of the relevant geographical and cultural fields over time, could play in highlighting cultural genocide as a potential precursor to physical genocide.

Article 7 of the "United Nations draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples" defines Cultural Genocide: Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to ethnocide and cultural genocide, including prevention of and redress.