Dynamics of Violence

Processes of Escalation and De-Escalation in Violent Group Conflicts

1999. 290 S.
Available as
69,90 €
ISBN 978-3-428-09957-3
69,90 €
ISBN 978-3-428-49957-1
Price for libraries: 106,00 € [?]


Violence is embedded in social structure. It follows specific dynamics which make it unpredictable for the individual case but calculable as a social phenomenon - this is the central message of this reader.

To lay persons violence may appear as irruption or the inhuman into a human world. The broad comparison of social, anthropological, and sociological case studies from Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America shows, however, that motives and forms of violence are patterned. Each pattern has its own dynamic of escalation and de-escalation which makes prediction difficult for the individual case. As part of these dynamics appear also restraints to the escalation called inhibitors. The study of these does not promise the construction of violence-free societies but it might allow for targetting interventions for peace in a more accurate manner.

An important element of these studies is the systematic analysis of the difference between the constructed outside appearance of violence and the dynamic system which reproduces it. Thus cultural strategies of wealth accumulation, prestige acquisition, and healing come to the foreground. Contributors to this volume include Alber, Erdmute; Allen, Tim; Elwert, Georg; Feuchtwang, Stephan; Grohs, Gerhard; Helbing, Jürg; Neubert, Dieter; Schmidt, Heike; Schwandner-Sievers, Stephanie; Strecker, Ivo; v. Trotha, Trutz; Waldmann, Peter.


Inhalt: G. Elwert / S. Feuchtwang / D. Neubert, The Dynamics of Collective Violence. An Introduction - T. von Trotha, Forms of Martial Power: Total Wars, Wars of Pacification, and Raid. Some Observations on the Typology of Violence - P. Waldmann, Societies in Civil War - G. Elwert, Markets of Violence - J. Helbling, The Dynamics of War and Alliance Among the Yanomami - E. Alber, Violent Conflicts in West-African Borgu on the Eve of Colonisation - S. Schwandner-Sievers, Humiliation and Reconciliation in Northern Albania. The Logics of Feuding in Symbolic and Diachronic Perspectives - D. Neubert, Dynamics of Escalating Violence - T. Allen, War, Genocide, and Aid. The Genocide in Rwanda - G. Grohs, About the Role of Churches in the Peace Process in Africa and Central America - H. Schmidt, Neither War Nor Peace: Making Sense of Violence - I. Strecker, The Temptations of War and the Struggle for Peace Among the Hamar of Southern Ethiopia

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