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Middle Agents as Marginalized: How the Rwanda Genocide Challenges Ethics from the Margins


A narrow conception of who counts among the marginalized can blind ethicists to the precarious position of groups who function as middle agents between elites and the lower class. The imposition of middle agency on such groups is a form of oppression that leaves them vulnerable to abandonment and attack. In Rwanda, discourses emanating from colonialism, classism, and racism obscured the Tutsi as middle agents, despite white Catholics’ dedication to the poor. By neglecting to recognize middle agency as a type of marginalization, missionaries contributed negatively to the genocide. Liberatory practices are recommended so that ethicists can expose and challenge the dynamics of middle agency and include all the marginalized in liberation strategies.

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