In addressing the origins of ethnic cleansing, UCLA sociologist Mann (Fascism
) locates differing stages of political participation as a major factor. He begins with stable authoritarian regimes (e.g., Tito's Yugoslavia) that exclude participation; when such regimes break down, there is a period of everybody scrambling for power and trying to exclude somebody else with the "else" usually defined on ethnic lines. Other examples include Armenia, the Holocaust and Rwanda, as well as India (the Sikhs and Muslims) and Indonesia (the Chinese). Eventually, the author's somewhat optimistic scenario argues, we arrive at stable participatory societies, with everybody somewhat included and limits set on what can be done to exclude groups (the Voting Rights Act of 1964 in the U.S.). Free from sociological jargon and abundant in historical data, this study sufficiently allows lay readers access. It can be difficult at moments to tell if Mann's prediction of the high body count in the Third World's coming century or so of ethnic cleansing is Eurocentric, callous or grimly realistic, but such moments always resolve into that last choice. Mann proposes some feasible remedies and scales of intervention.
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"Michael Mann, one of the great sociological thinkers of our day published two impressive books this year (both from Cambridge University Press)..[in]"The Dark Side of Democracy" he examines the intimate connection between democratization and ethnic cleansing... [and] unlike most sociologists, Mann does not write in jargon. Though certainly dense, these books will reward the effort of any non-scholar willing to tackle them."
"The book is impressive in its historical dimensions."
- Canadian Journal of Sociology Online
"This book, almost encyclopedic in content and rich in descriptive analysis, makes a significant contribution to political sociology and should be required reading for social scientists, political leaders, and policy makers. Essential."
"Michael Mann is a purveyor of big ideas, and this big book is full of them, brilliant, powerful, and provocative. Starting from its title, The Dark Side of Democracy launches a debate that will reshape our understanding of the worst of human history in the light of the best, and of the ancient in the light of the modern. Mann combines close empirical insights with a magisterial conceptual grasp. Every page offers points to applaud, dispute, and reflect on. We will be arguing about this work for years, and whatever conclusions we reach will be sharper for it."
- Ben Kiernan, Director, Genocide Studies Program, Yale University
"One of our most distinguished political analysts has turned his attention to the darkest corners of political life, to murderous ethnic conflict. As sketched in this superb book, Mann's account of such cases is timely, provocative - who, for instance, would want to believe that ethnic cleansing bears the imprint of democracy - and ultimately persuasive. A must, if disturbing, read."
- Doug McAdam, Department of Sociology, Stanford University
"Michael Mann's new book is sweeping in its coverage and daring in its argumentation. Its central theme - that murderous ethnic cleansing has accompanied the rise of salvation religion and modern democracy - flies in the face of some broadly held assumptions, namely, that such extreme actions can be explained by recrudescent ancient hatreds or the cynical manipulation of authoritarian elites. Well-researched and compellingly written, this is one of the best recent books on the subject available today."
- Beth A. Simmons, Harvard University
"Free from sociological jargon and abundant in historical data, this study sufficiently allows lay readers access."
- Publishers Weekly
"Michael Mann's The Dark Side of Democracy is an excellent attempt to theorize the origins and escalation of ethnic cleansing by focusing on political power relations within a society."
- H-Genocide, Susumu Suzuki, Department of Political Science, Wayne State University
"The book is a significant contribution to political sociology and to understanding the complex phenomenon of violent ethnic cleansing...The reader cannot but be impressed with the global range and the intensity and accuracy of the research that are reflected in this lengthy text, and with Mann's effort to integrate them into a set of rigorously stated explanatory propositions." The International History Review Milton J. Esman, Cornell University
"In a work of great knowledge and forceful argumentation, Michael Mann seeks to provide a general explanation for one of the worst atrocities of the modern era...Mann's knowledge is wide ranging, and aspects of his analysis are illuminating." - Eric D. Weitz, University of Minnesota
"Mann excels at describing the stages a regime goes through as it descends into ethnic cleansing or mass murder, how an initial plan to privilege one ethnic group over another is twisted and radicalized into the unintended plan 'd' --full scale ethnic murder--and how 'ordinary' citizens are co-opted into endorsing it." - Rima Berns-McGown, The University of Toronto and the Canadian Institute of International Affairs