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.
The most extreme form of violence is homicide.1 In the discussion of Elias in Chapter 3 it was noted that there was a steep reduction in homicide rates in Europe between the fourteenth and twentieth centuries and this can be cited in support of Elias's thesis. The civilizational process entailed an increased level of restraint of violent emotions through the consolidation of the state's monopoly of the means of force, and legal and informal social regulation. However, it was noted in Chapter 4 that Elias gave too little attention to economic processes and, in particular, to the spatial localization of inequalities and economic transformation. This criticism is relevant to the analysis of homicide too since it will be argued that economic transformation ...