How does violence against civilians become permissible in wartime? Why do some communities experience violence while others do not? In her new book, Mila Dragojević
develops the concept of amoral communities to find an answer to these questions. In Amoral Communities: Collective Crimes in Time of War
(Cornell University Press, 2019), Dragojević studies how, in places where ethnic and political identities become linked, targeted violence against civilians becomes possible through the exclusion of moderates and the production of borders. Drawing on fieldwork and interviews in Croatia, as well as Guatemala and Uganda, Dragovević’s book illuminates the patterns make collective violence possible, while also drawing important insights for why violence does not occur, and how it might be prevented.
Jelena Golubović is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Simon Fraser University.