Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Jerry Daday (Director),Dr. Steve Groce,Dr. Edward Bohlander

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Cross-national crime studies are often plagued with conceptualization issues. In specific, some countries may define certain acts of violence as crimes, whereas others may perceive these acts as justifiable or culturally prescribed. This difference in conceptualization is especially the case with the crime of genocide, which the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 defines “as any of a number of acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” Despite this legal definition, countries, organizations, institutions or individuals may label a crisis as genocide, civil war, or another type of conflict. Because the printed mainstream media reflects and shapes the public perception of international conflicts, this research employs content analysis and quantitative methodology in examining published accounts of the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan over the last five years. Using articles from newspapers in the United States, Great Britain, China, and Qatar, I examined the extent to which the term genocide is used to illustrate this conflict within the mainstream media from these four different countries. The results of this study suggest that the geographic location of a news outlet does not necessarily play a role in the conceptualization of genocide. The most important factors in this process are the way in which the author of the article frames the conflict, whether the author chooses to use quotes from certain organizational leaders, and the context in which the term genocide is used when it is chosen in favor of the term ethnic cleansing or civil war. These findings imply that news sources play a large role in public perception of genocide.


Criminology | Inequality and Stratification | Place and Environment | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology