Collective violence has played an important role throughout American history, though we have typically denied it. But it is not enough to repress violence or to suppress our knowledge of it. We must understand the phenomenon, and to do this, we must learn what violent groups are trying to say. Th at some choose violence tells us something about the perpetrators, inevitably, about ourselves and the society we have built.
This collection of provocative contributions addresses theory and research on violence as a group phenomenon. The editors were co-directors of research for the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence in the 1960s, and many of the contributors to this volume were involved in that research. Collective Violence distills their findings as well as takes a later, harder look at the forms, sources, and meanings of riots and rebellion.
Short and Wolfgang consider the political implications of collective violence, especially as it has appeared in the United States. Th e book includes essays on theory, comparative analyses based on anthropological and historical data, studies of the role of police and other social control agents, and summarizes discussions of U.S. public policy.
The contributions range from anthropologists' descriptions of collective violence in primitive societies to general statements about the nature of collective violence. Collective Violence is intended for use in a wide range of courses in sociology, anthropology and political science. In addition its fi ndings will interest anyone wishing insight into the nature of group violence in American society.