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Jan Pakulski

An eliticide or ‘national ‘decapitation’ – a systematic and deliberate targeting and mass extermination of a nation’s ‘ruling minority’– is a form of organised and state-perpetrated mass violence that, until recently, has been escaping the attention of historians and social scientists. Eliticides emerged in the 20th century as tools of social engineering and political conquest, primarily by Stalin and Hitler. The 1939-45 eliticide in Poland, conducted by the Nazi and Soviet invaders, not only weakened the resistance movement and undermined the social, political and moral order (thus opening the way for social pathologies), but also increased vulnerability to Soviet take over and fatally hindered the post-war social reconstruction of Poland. It resulted in the formation of a politically dependent and socially deracinated ‘quasi-elite’ with limited capacity for governing.

in Violence and the state

This book sets out to help unlock an intriguing interdisciplinary puzzle relating to violence: ‘what is the relationship between the instrumental uses of violence, including its main forms, and the willingness of states to employ it?’ In providing a counterweight to the notion that political violence has irrevocably changed in a globalised world, Violence and the State provides an original and innovative way to understand political violence across a range of discipline areas.