e-book Control of Violence: Historical and International Perspectives on Violence in Modern Societies

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Not long afterwards, Berger, et al.

Stewart provides perhaps the most comprehensive overview of the concept, drawing in particular on his own fieldwork among the Bedouin of the Sinai Peninsula. Nisbett and Cohen traces the roots of honor culture to a combination of frontier statelessness and the vulnerability of property in herding economies. Cooney distinguishes ten characteristics of honor cultures, including their antipathy to legal means of handling conflict.

Ralph Larkin

Collins sees honor as an ideology that is often used to justify bullying or domination by the weak over the strong. Appiah ponders the swiftness with which entrenched social practices may change once they become uncoupled from the notion of honor. Black provides perhaps the most incisive overview of honor, emphasizing that the origin and intensity of its conflicts lie in the struggle to establish superiority and avoid inferiority among status equals.

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. The honor code: How moral revolutions happen. New York: Norton. Reflections on honor and its role in moral revolutions by a philosopher. Analyzes the rapid demise of dueling, the abolition of slavery, and the abandonment of Chinese footbinding in terms of changing notions of personal and group honor broadly defined. On the obsolescence of the concept of honor. In The homeless mind: Modernization and consciousness.

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New York: Random House. An important statement contrasting the premodern culture of honor with the modern culture of dignity.

We can’t achieve peace without addressing structural violence - Temi Mwale - TEDxWarwick

Has been criticized for underestimating the extent to which honor survives in pockets of the modern world, but remains an essential source. Black, Donald. Moral time. New York: Oxford Univ. DOI: A brief but insightful and wide-ranging discussion. Situates honor conflicts within his highly original general theory of conflict see pp.

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Collins, Randall. Violence: A micro-sociological theory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. In honor code situations, actors do not simply respond to insults but often actively seek out fights see pp. Cooney, Mark. Warriors and peacemakers: How third parties shape violence. New York: New York Univ. Nisbett, Richard E. Culture of honor: The psychology of violence in the South.

Boulder, CO: Westview. A seminal contribution. Presents empirical evidence of a Southern culture of honor, and proposes that cultures of honor in general are products of frontier herding societies. Scholarly yet accessible to a wide audience.


Ralph Larkin | John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Peristiany, J. Honour and shame: The values of Mediterranean society. Chicago: Univ. A classic edited volume analyzing the meanings of honor and its place in Mediterranean societies.


An excellent starting point for investigating honor culture. However, before we consider this case to be closed we need to talk about one fundamental issue. Consider the following two scenarios:. Which is worse? The question depends on your observation point.

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On the ground, observing from the location of the conflict itself, the bar is much worse. An individual in the bar has a 1 in 2 chance of being killed. He illustrates it with the following pair of plots:. The graph on the left shows the raw number of casualties versus time for major conflicts. The graph on the right shows the rescaled version where the populations have been standardized across all times to have the same base population.

Violence Creates More Violence: Television, Video Games, and Handguns

As a utilitarian , I believe in bringing the greatest amount of total good to the greatest amount of people, and therefore, I see the total number of humans dead as the mark of how our civilization has failed. On the other side of the argument, a human alive today has less probability of being killed in a violent conflict than at any point in the past which is no doubt progress. In particular, we might want to think about why the total number of deaths in addition to the relative measures have fallen since This work is the best look at potential reasons why violence has declined — partly because others refuse to concede this point.

The five historical forces behind the reduction in violence are:. A powerful central government that can make and enforce laws using violence means that citizens are less likely to take punishment into their own hands, a concept known as the Leviathon theory. For all its romantic appeal, vigilante justice only leads to unending cycles of revenge violence.

When citizens can count on a government to deliver fair punishments, they let the judicial system enforce the rules. Also, a state can prevent crime by making the penalty far greater than any potential payoff. Humans have the potential for both evil and good, and a strong central government with a fair criminal justice system with disincentives can steer them on the right path. A strong government alone is not enough for keeping the peace between nations though.

The idea that one democratic nation will not fight another is good news as democracies on the rise in the long run worldwide as shown by Pinker:. One counterpoint is the recent decline in Democratic Index which measures not just the government but also freedom of the press and voting rights. Although the long-term trends are positive, the recent declines are worrying.

The theory of gentle commerce can be summed up in two statements:. When people are provided a legal means to obtain their goods that is cheaper than violence, they will take the legal option. Without exchanges in a market economy, all interactions between humans are zero-sum: you can steal something from me, but your gain is offset by my loss so humanity is no better off; the size of the economy stays the same. However, in an exchange of goods, both parties come out better ahead.

Moreover, as trade continues, countries become dependent on one another because they no longer make all the goods they need. The end result of exchange is more plentiful goods at cheaper prices for all parties and improved international relations. Over the past several hundred years, we have slowly built up an international marketplace where all players are heavily dependent on one another. As discussed by Pinker, countries that depend more on each other for trade are less likely to have a violent conflict controlling for other factors.