Sociology Index


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. Cultural genocide occured when Australian government authorities assumed legal guardianship of all Indigenous peoples' children and removed large numbers of them from their families in order to 'assimilate' them into European society and culture. Cultural genocide implies the process of undermining, suppressing, and ultimately eliminating native cultures. Genocide: The single word has become key to Moscow’s accusations against the Ukrainian government.

The term genocide was coined by Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin in 1944, the word combined the Greek word "geno" (tribe) with the Latin word "cide" (killing) to create a new way to describe the deliberate and systematic destruction of a people. The term Cultural Genocide comes from the word ‘gens’, meaning a clan or community of people related by common descent.

The drafters of the Genocide Convention cut out of their document the prohibition and punishability of acts of cultural 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.

Did Canada commit a Cultural Genocide?

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is unequivocal that its study has proven a "cultural genocide." A landmark study in Canada has brought new debate over the very nature of the word genocide. That study, written by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, offers a detailed and thorough examination of the practice of sending Canadian aboriginal children to attend state-funded residential schools. It doesn't use the term genocide to describe a mass killing. Instead, the report is talking about what it labels a "cultural genocide" – the killing of a culture.

The report's introduction explains. "Cultural genocide is the destruction of those structures and practices that allow the group to continue as a group. States that engage in cultural genocide set out to destroy the political and social institutions of the targeted group. Land is seized, and populations are forcibly transferred and their movement is restricted. Spiritual leaders are persecuted, spiritual practices are forbidden, and objects of spiritual value are confiscated and destroyed. And, most significantly to the issue at hand, families are disrupted to prevent the transmission of cultural values and identity from one generation to the next." - The Washington Post, June 5, 2015.

Adivasis on the March – Crisis and Cultural Genocide in Tribal India
By Gladson Dungdung & Felix Padel. India’s tribal people are in ferment after a Supreme Court (SC) judgment in February 2019 ordered eviction of over a million tribal families from traditional lands where claims under the Forest Rights Act (2006)[1] have been rejected – as the majority have been, due to obstruction from forest officials and a multitude of murky vested interests.

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). 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. 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, Nov. 1999. 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.

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. The Western delegates understood the connection between cultural genocide and physical genocide, which the communist and Arab delegations were making. 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.

The symbols of culture associated with the identity of a particular group, which has been subjected to destruction and redefinition as part of a widespread and planned strategy, is potentially comparable to the processes that define cultural genocide.

This constitutes a type of cultural genocide. Accepting the above premise, attention must then be drawn to the potentially critical role that archaeologists and anthropologists could play in highlighting cultural genocide as a potential precursor to physical genocide.

Cultural genocide and indigenous peoples: A sociological approach - Damien Short.

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