Theories, Methods and Evidence

Alette Smeulers, Barbora Hola, M. Weerdesteijn

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter provides an overview of the most prominent theories, methods, and evidence in perpetrator studies. It outlines the most important theories within the field focusing on the individual perpetrator, his/her immediate situation, and the broader societal and cultural context. In addition, it describes the extent to which these theories are supported by empirical evidence. The methods and data sources employed to study perpetrators are briefly discussed, distinguishing between qualitative and quantitative studies. The theories, methods, and evidence are critically evaluated to reflect on three questions: what we know about the perpetrators of mass atrocity crimes, how we know it, and what we assume. This chapter, therefore, aims to present a critical reflection on the current state of the art in the emerging field of perpetrator studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerpetrators of international crimes
Subtitle of host publicationTheories, Methods and Evidence
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780191868375 , 9780192565495
ISBN (Print)9780198829997
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

In: Part I, Perpetrators of International Crimes


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