The theory and practice of utopia in a total institution: the pineapple panopticon

Stewart Clegg*, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Arménio Rego

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Genocide has been a constant presence in the history of humanity throughout the ages. Recently, calls to study the organization of genocide and genocidal organizations have been increasing. In this paper we study the functioning of the S-21 extermination camp, an instrument of Ângkar, 'The Organization', which imposed genocide on the Cambodian people in the 1970s. We analyse the conditions that enable the organization of genocide, showing that three pillars seem to play essential roles: a utopian vision; support of this vision by total institutional spaces, and the control commitments of the people caught in the utopian vortex. Genocide appears as a potential outcome of the particular type of organization combining these three processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1735-1757
Number of pages23
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Duality
  • Genocide
  • Kampuchea
  • Power
  • Total institutions
  • Utopia


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