In this compelling and timely book, Violence and Society, Larry Ray offers a wide-ranging and integrated account of the many manifestations of violence in society. He examines violent behavior and its meanings in contemporary culture and throughout history.

Introducing the major theoretical debates, the book examines different levels of violence – interpersonal, institutional and collective – and different forms of violence such as racist crime, homophobic crime and genocide. It provides readers with a succinct and comprehensive overview of its nature and effects, and the solutions and conflict resolutions involved in responses to violence.

Interdisciplinary in its approach, the text draws on evidence from sociology, criminology, primate studies and archaeology to shed light on arguments about the social construction and innate nature of violence. Engaging, wide-reaching and authoritative, this is essential reading for students, academics and researchers in sociology, criminology, social psychology and cultural studies.




Violence is ubiquitous in human societies and lies deep in human history. This has prompted debate over many centuries as to whether violence, or at least aggression, is innate in the human condition. Hobbes famously formulated the view that, in a natural state, life was nasty, brutish and short, while other philosophers, on the contrary, viewed humans as naturally social and solidaristic. This debate has continued into the contemporary social and natural sciences. Some archaeological anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists argue that a predilection for violence has been selected into human social development and has its origins in the hunting practices and survival needs of pre-human hominids. Their conclusion is not that we should be complacent about aggression and violence in modern social life but ...

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