Collective Violence

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Allyn and Bacon, 2000 - Social Science - 152 pages
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"Cults, terrorists, genocide, rebellion: these words scream at us daily from various media sources, but they represent group behavior which few people understand or can respond to effectively. "Collective Violence" discusses and analyzes this behavior through the eyes of social change researchers and theorists. This book defines a new subfield in the study of collective behavior and social movements, focusing on the characteristics, history, and structure of violent groups." "Collective Violence" teaches readers how to understand violent group behavior on the only level at which it can be controlled, at the group level. Rather than focusing on the social conditions that may lead to violence or the characteristics of individuals who might join these groups, this book looks at the actual signposts that might be used to predict whether or not a group of activists or a local community grass-roots movement is likely to use violence to achieve its goals. The book is divided into four major sections, with an introductory and concluding chapter. Each of the topical chapters will include examples of the behavior, theories which attempt to explain the behavior, and the methods which institutions and their agents use to control the violence. Some solutions come from within a society as a result of seemingly spontaneous creativity, while others are consciously pursued by organized groups. The authors contend that these violent behaviors do not spring from madness, perversion, or intentional criminality; they begin in the roots of everyday life and mundane issues; and the people who commit these deeds are normal people who become convinced that a time for taking matters into their own hands hascome." For anyone interested in the sociology of group behavior, society, and criminal justice.

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Rationality versus Irrationality
Explaining Collective Violence
Social and Structural Explanations of Collective Behavior

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About the author (2000)

Lynne L. Snowden, Ph.D.," is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She has published three books, "Collective Violence" (Allyn & Bacon) and "Preventing Terrorism," 1st and 2nd eds (2002 & 2003) and numerous journal articles on violence, terrorism, policing, and other related topics. Dr. Snowden began her study of group violence and risk assessment when she worked with Dr. Henry Quarantelli at the Disaster Research Center of the University of Delaware, where she earned her doctorate. The extensive library of collective-violence topics, such as riots, rebellions, and cult behavior, and field data collected by Center researchers during the turbulent 60s on riots and anti-war protests helped her to develop a course on terrorism, cults, and hate groups that she continues to teach yearly. Recently her interest broadened to the study of homeland security since the topic combines her research in illegal migration, risk assessment of violent groups, and policing issues.

"Bradley C. Whitsel, Ph.D.," earned his doctorate in political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. His research interests include terrorism, religion and politics, and cults/alternative religions. In addition to his journal publications in these areas, he has written a book on a major North American new religious movement, The Church Universal and Triumphant (Syracuse University Press, 2003). He is presently researching radical political and social movements at the University of Kansas Wilcox Collection for a new project on historic anti-statist groups in the United States.

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