Violence: A Micro-sociological Theory (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, Aug 3, 2009 - Social Science - 563 pages
5 Reviews

In the popular misconception fostered by blockbuster action movies and best-selling thrillers--not to mention conventional explanations by social scientists--violence is easy under certain conditions, like poverty, racial or ideological hatreds, or family pathologies. Randall Collins challenges this view in Violence, arguing that violent confrontation goes against human physiological hardwiring. It is the exception, not the rule--regardless of the underlying conditions or motivations.

Collins gives a comprehensive explanation of violence and its dynamics, drawing upon video footage, cutting-edge forensics, and ethnography to examine violent situations up close as they actually happen--and his conclusions will surprise you. Violence comes neither easily nor automatically. Antagonists are by nature tense and fearful, and their confrontational anxieties put up a powerful emotional barrier against violence. Collins guides readers into the very real and disturbing worlds of human discord--from domestic abuse and schoolyard bullying to muggings, violent sports, and armed conflicts. He reveals how the fog of war pervades all violent encounters, limiting people mostly to bluster and bluff, and making violence, when it does occur, largely incompetent, often injuring someone other than its intended target. Collins shows how violence can be triggered only when pathways around this emotional barrier are presented. He explains why violence typically comes in the form of atrocities against the weak, ritualized exhibitions before audiences, or clandestine acts of terrorism and murder--and why a small number of individuals are competent at violence.

Violence overturns standard views about the root causes of violence and offers solutions for confronting it in the future.

  

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Review: Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory

User Review  - Inna - Goodreads

Very good attempt to understand physical violence through what actually happens during various violent encounters. The author claims that violence is not natural for humans, who are programmed for ... Read full review

Review: Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory

User Review  - Johan - Goodreads

A little bit different than his Interaction Ritual Chains since it uses a more wide array of evidence as to how violence happens (or does not happen). The use of micro-sociological analysis on ... Read full review

Contents

The Microsociology of Violent Confrontations
1
Confrontational Tension and Incompetent Violence
39
Forward Panic
83
I Domestic Abuse
134
II Bullying Mugging and Holdups
156
Staging Fair Fights
193
Violence as Fun and Entertainment
242
Sports Violence
282
How Fights Start or Not
337
The Violent Few
370
Violence as Dominance in Emotional Attention Space
413
Epilogue
463
References
527
Index
555
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Randall Collins is the Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology and a member of the Department of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include "Interaction Ritual Chains" (Princeton) and "The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change".

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