The Invention of the Concentration Camp: Cuba, Southern Africa, and the Philippines, 1896–1907

TitleThe Invention of the Concentration Camp: Cuba, Southern Africa, and the Philippines, 1896–1907
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHyslop, Jonathan
JournalSouth African Historical Journey
Volume63
Issue2
Start Page251
Pagination251-276
Date Published06/2011
Abstract

This article contends that new cultures of military professionalism were crucial to the emergence of the concentration camp as a social phenomenon in the late 1890s and the first decade of the twentieth century. It uses an analysis of the interaction between professional military culture and the process of war-fighting to provide a better understanding of the origins of the camp. Military professionalism, despite important national differences, took instrumental rationality as a core value. This produced a willingness by soldiers to take responsibility for organizing civilian populations on a macro-social scale. In each of four case studies, clearing the population from the rural areas in a ‘scorched earth’ response to guerilla activity led to the development of the camps. The article argues that this approach has more explanatory adequacy than those based on theories of genocide, biopower, exceptional states, racial ideology, or rational choice. The paper suggests that a major way in which the camps of 1896–1907 were linked to mid 20th century camps was through a global diffusion of the concept, via new forms of print media. (WorldCat)

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