What drives genocide? Despite new research on the origins of genocide, existing theory tends to over predict the phenomenon. The presentation develops an alternative methodological approach, one that emphasizes the importance of studying negative cases. Using qualitative comparative analysis of four African countries that each possessed factors pointing toward genocide, the presentation develops an explanation that accounts for the variation in outcomes among the four states. Affirming the importance of wartime dynamics, the presentation emphasizes the power of elite-based ideological narratives that shape military and political strategy during armed conflict. The presentation also points to other sources of restraint, such as economic structure and capacity to control territory.

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