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Collective Violence

Uploaded by megatow on Dec 06, 2004

Collective violence is a something that takes place all the time. Whether it be a riot, a revolution, or a gang, people participate in collective violence everyday. Barkan’s and Snowden’s Collective Violence provides the reader with a comprehensive look at the theories behind this phenomenon and applies them to the examples that can be found in societies across the globe. This paper will look at how well the book explains collective violence and how the examples provided give the reader insight to the world around them.

This book is basically an attempt to explain the occurrence of collective violence. The theory that provides the foundation for the proper evaluation of violent acts and violent groups is giving first. The following chapters of the book address the various forms of collective violence that take shape throughout the world. In each chapter, the authors provide some examples of each form of collective violence, and try to explain them with the use of theory. The major forms of collective violence that are discussed are riots, revolutions, terrorism, cult, militia, and hate groups. Although the author provides the theories in the beginning of the book, the reader is left to apply the theories to the examples provided. This provides the book with some structure while also allowing the reader some freedom to decide which theory applies best. This is an important aspect of the book. By allowing a wide range of explanations for all the forms of collective violence, the reader is given an understanding that such complex issues are difficult to explain. Also, there is usually more than one reason that leads to a group becoming violent.

There are five basic theories outlined in the book. These theories provide the framework for understanding the events that are discussed in later chapters. The first theory is presented is the Irrational and Rational approaches. Irrationality was the theory that people do not understand the consequences of their actions when in large groups or crowds. Rationality, discussed by Turner and Killian, is the belief that people that come together in groups begin to develop an emergent norm. This is the expectation that something violent may occur, but in a calculated manner. Psychologists such as Freud, Pareto, and LeBon all researched about irrationality. However, I do not think the point...

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Uploaded by:   megatow

Date:   12/06/2004

Category:   Sociology

Length:   6 pages (1,408 words)

Views:   12205

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