Pinpointing Patterns of Violence: A Comparative Genocide Studies Approach to Violence Escalation in the Ukrainian Holodomor
School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development
This article utilizes the case study of the 1930s Ukrainian Holodomor, an artificially induced famine under Joseph Stalin, to advance comparative genocide studies debates regarding the nature, onset, and prevention of large-scale violence. Fieldwide debates question how to 1) distinguish genocide from other forms of large-scale violence and 2) trace genocides as unfolding processes, rather than crescendoing events. To circumvent unproductive definitional arguments, methodologies that track large-scale violence according to numerically-based thresholds have substituted for dynamics-based analyses. Able to address aspects of the genocide puzzle, these methodologies struggle to incorporate cross-cultural contextual variation or elicit ripe moments for specific, real-time interventions. Demonstrating how genocide’s precise, changing dynamics can be mapped over its duration, I present and apply a new mixed methods methodology, affirming that historical cases can inform modern prevention efforts. By coding 1932–1933 Ukraine-specific correspondences to/from Stalin, I pinpoint the precise moment when genocidal intent and victim selection overlaps.
Genocide Studies and Prevention
ISSN: 1911-0359 (PRINT) ISSN: 1911-9933 (ONLINE)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Available open-access for download here: https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol15/iss2/5/