The purpose of this study is to examine the use of Olson’s (1995, 2000) family therapy based circumplex model and Athens’ (1992, 1997, 2003) violentization theory in explaining genocide. The Rwandan genocide of 1994 is used as a case study. Published texts, including interviews with perpetrators, research reports, human rights reports, and court transcripts were analyzed. The use of both theories was consistent with the data and resulted in a greater understanding of the genocide. Rwanda moved to a rigidly enmeshed society during the genocide with the perpetrators going through the violentization process. Suggestions for further research are provided.


Genocide, Circumplex Model, Violentization Theory, and Rwanda

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.


Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.