Graduation Year

Fall 2011

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Mark Costanzo

Reader 2

Gregory Hess

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© 2011 Emma C. Jones


It is difficult to understand why genocide continues to occur, even when the international community pledges never to let it happen in the future. Techniques such as moral disengagement and dehumanization have consistently resulted in genocide. These techniques can be greatly amplified through the careful use of language and labeling. The purpose of this paper is to examine the roles that language and labeling play in genocide. Social and psychological influences that use language will be investigated through the examination of the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide and the Rwandan genocide. These influences are many times unintentionally or unknowingly exercised and can have negative results for everyone involved. The use of language in the media is also examined, along with ways in which ordinary people can avoid susceptibility to language that could influence them to commit evil acts such as genocide.