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Karstedt: Atrocious organisations – The administrative bureaucracy of evil

Jun 22, 2023 | 10:30 AM

Lecture with Susanne Karstedt (Griffith University)

The lecture is part of the State Crime Summer School.

This contribution focuses on the organized, corporate, and bureaucratic nature of atrocity crimes and the “atrocious organization,” where atrocities have become an established part of organizational goals, strategies, routines, and managerial performance. Typically, these crimes include mass detention, torture, disappearances, and killings. Police and security forces are main actors in a network of atrocious organizations that includes military and paramilitary units. Three processes are decisive in the transformation from ordinary to atrocious organizations: politicization, including ethno-politicization; de-professionalization; and militarization. Atrocious organizations pose extraordinary challenges for intervention, prevention, and justice. Evidence from the Holocaust to the former Yugoslavia, to countries in Latin America and Asia is used to identify common characteristics of atrocious organizations and their crimes. Lists, files, and records left by their bureaucracies and documents from judicial records allow for the reconstruction of the functioning of the organizational context and apparatus of atrocity, and the emergence of atrocious organizations in this process.

You can find the chapter here. If you are interested in reading the entire book chapter, please contact Prof. Drenkhahn.

Time & Location

22 June 2023 | 10:30–11:30 AM
Law School | Van't-Hoff-Str. 6 | Room 102a