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An Aztec illustration of Cristóbal de Olid entering Guadalajara, Jalisco, with Tlaxcaltec warriors during a post-conquest exploration of Northern Mexico in 1522. Conquistadors are said to have committed culturicide during the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

Alternative forms




culture +‎ -icide.





culturicide (countable and uncountable, plural culturicides)

  1. (uncountable) The systematic destruction of a culture, particularly one unique to a specific ethnicity, or a political, religious, or social group.
    • 1969, New Physician, volume 18, Reston, Va.: American Medical Student Association, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 617:
      If culturicide is to be prevented, certain means must be employed.
    • 1974, George Dearborn Spindler, editor, Education and Cultural Process: Toward an Anthropology of Education, New York, N.Y., London: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, →ISBN, page 529:
      In effect, the textbooks commit what we term culturecide: the destruction of a culture, either by physical force or through symbolic means. The textbooks contribute to such destruction by distorting and omitting information []
    • 1998, James V. Fenelon, “Culturicide Processes over Native Nations”, in Culturicide, Resistance, and Survival of the Lakota (“Sioux Nation”) (Native Americans: Interdisciplinary Perspectives), New York, N.Y., London: Garland Publishing, →ISBN, pages 36–37:
      When culture-groups, in majority or minority, in national or political systems, attempt to eliminate the social practices of other culture-groups over which they have power, there is cultural domination and hypothesized Culturicide. Culturicide examples include Germans stamping out Hebrew language of Jews in the 1930s, Spanish outlawing Aztec and Maya codexes in 16th century Central America, Chinese establishing provincial restrictions of Mandarin in various dynasties, and the United States suppressing native languages of our indigenous "Indian" nations for over one hundred years.
    • 1998, David O. Friedrichs, editor, State Crime (International Library of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Penology), volumes I (Defining, Delineating, and Explaining State Crime), Aldershot, Hampshire: Dartmouth, →ISBN, page 384:
      Though culturecide is in and of itself not genocide, it does threaten the existence of a group if individual actions assume a quantitative mass whose collective impact can result in the demise of a group.
    • 2003, Wilma A. Dunaway, editor, Emerging Issues in the 21st Century World-system. Volume I: Crises and Resistance in the 21st Century World-system (Contributions in Economics and Economic History; 230 [Studies in the Political Economy of the World-system]), volume I, Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishing, →ISBN, page 182:
      In contrast, culturicide is an attempt to kill a culture, whether or not its members survive and whether or not they retain a separate identity []
    • 2004, Stuart Stein, “Culturecide”, in Ellis Cashmore, editor, Encyclopedia of Race and Ethnic Studies, London, New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN:
      Culturecide, referred to also as cultural genocide or deculturation, signifies processes that have usually been purposely introduced and that result in the decline or demise of a culture, without necessarily resulting in the physical destruction of its bearers.
    • 2009, Timothy Pytell, “Weighing Genocide”, in Brian Levin, editor, Hate Crimes, volumes 1 (Understanding and Defining Hate Crime), Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishing, →ISBN, page 210:
      Ethnic cleansing is a poor euphemism for forms of culturcide, ethnocide, ghettoization, displacement of people to reservations, and forced removal of populations.
    • 2010, Chetan Bhatt, “The Spirit Lives On: Races and Disciplines”, in Patricia Hill Collins, John Solomos, editors, The SAGE Handbook of Race and Ethnic Studies, Los Angeles, Calif.: SAGE Publications, →ISBN, page 102:
      While situated in Darwinian ideas of evolutionary progress, [Edward Burnett] Tylor's work shows interesting analogies with both [Immanuel] Kant's moral telos and its implied culturcide, and [Johann Gottfried] Herder's universalism of partitioned cultures.
  2. (countable) An instance of such destruction.
    • 2003, Edgar Morin, “European Civilization: Properties and Challenges”, in Mehdi Mozaffari, editor, Globalization and Civilizations, London, New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 145:
      Our mission is not only to stop the "culturecides" initiated by us, but also to recognize the treasures of experience, wisdom, and subtlety in the cultures we are annihilating.
    • 2006, Ismael Abu-Saad, Duane Champagne, editors, Indigenous Education and Empowerment: International Perspectives, Lanham, Md.: AltaMira Press, →ISBN, page 68:
      Now, the teacher needs to place these historical situations into broader social contexts. Therefore, I provide a chart of some historical genocides and culturicides as an example, allowing instructors to also model how just because there is a genocide or culturicide, there are other modes of domination and adaptation going on as well.

Derived terms