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Violence : a micro-sociological theory

Author: Randall Collins
Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, ©2008.
Series: ACLS Humanities E-Book.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
In the popular misconception fostered by action movies and thrillers, not to mention social scientists, that violence is easy under certain conditions. Collins challenges this view, arguing that violent confrontation goes against human physiological hardwiring, regardless of the underlying conditions and motivations.

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Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Randall Collins
ISBN: 9780691133133 0691133131 9780691143224 0691143226 9781400831753 140083175X
OCLC Number: 123766860
Awards: American Sociological Association Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award, 2011.
Description: xi, 563 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: 1. The micro-sociology of violent confrontations --
Violent situations --
Micro-evidence : situational recordings, reconstructions, and observations --
Comparing situations across types of violence --
Fight myths --
Violent situations are shaped by an emotional field of tension and fear --
Alternative theoretical approaches --
Historical evolution of social techniques for controlling confrontational tension --
Sources --
Preview --
The complementarity of micro and macro theories. pt. 1. The dirty secrets of violence --
2. Confrontational tension and incompetent violence --
Brave, competent and evenly matched? --
The central reality : confrontational tension --
Tension/fear and non-performance in military combat --
Low fighting competence --
Friendly fire and bystander hits --
Joy of combat : under what conditions? --
The continuum of tension/fear and combat performance --
Confrontational tension in policing and non-military fighting --
Fear of what? --
3. Forward panic --
Confrontational tension and release : hot rush, piling on, overkill --
Atrocities of war --
Caveat : the multiple causation of atrocities --
Asymmetrical entrainment of forward panic and paralyzed victims --
Forward panics and one-sided casualties in decisive battles --
Atrocities of peace --
Crowd violence --
Demonstrators and crowd-control forces --
The crowd multiplier --
Alternatives to forward panic --
4. Attacking the weak : I. Domestic abuse --
The emotional definition of the situation --
Background and foreground explanations --
Abusing the exceptionally weak : time-patterns from normalcy to atrocity --
Three pathways : normal limited conflict, severe forward panic, and terroristic torture regime --
Negotiating interactional techniques of violence and victimhood --
5. Attacking the weak : II. Bullying, mugging, and holdups --
The continuum of total institutions --
Mugging and holdups --
Battening on interactional weakness. pt. 2. Cleaned-up and staged violence --
6. Staging fair fights --
Hero versus hero --
Audience supports and limits on violence --
Fighting schools and fighting manners --
Displaying risk and manipulating danger in sword and pistol duels --
The decline of elite dueling and its replacement by the gunfight --
Honor without fairness : vendettas as chains of unbalanced fights --
Ephemeral situational honor and leap-frog escalation into one-gun fights --
Behind the facade of honor and disrespect --
The cultural prestige of fair and unfair fights --
7. Violence as fun and entertainment --
Moral holidays --
Looting and destruction as participation sustainers --
The wild party as elite potlatch --
Carousing zones and boundary exclusion violence --
End-resisting violence --
Frustrated carousing and stirring up effervescence --
Paradox : why does most intoxication not lead to violence? --
The one-fight-per-venue limitation --
Fighting as action and fun --
Mock fights and mosh pits --
8. Sports violence --
Sports as dramatically contrived conflicts --
Game dynamics and player violence --
Winning by practical skills for producing emotional energy dominance --
The timing of player violence : loser-frustration fights and turning-point fights --
Spectators' game-dependent violence --
Offsite fans' violence : celebration and defeat riots --
Offsite violence as sophisticated technique : soccer hooligans --
The dramatic local construction of antagonistic identities --
Revolt of the audience in the era of entertainers' domination. pt. 3. Dynamics and structure of violent situations --
9. How fights start, or not --
Normal limited acrimony : griping, whining, arguing, quarreling --
Boasting and blustering --
The code of the street : institutionalized bluster and threat --
Pathways into the tunnel of violence --
10. The violent few --
Small numbers of the actively and competently violent --
Confrontation leaders and action-seekers : police --
Who wins? --
Military snipers : concealed and absorbed in technique --
Fighter pilot aces : aggressively imposing momentum --
In the zone versus the glaze of combat : micro-situational techniques of interactional dominance --
The 9/11 cockpit fight --
11. Violence as dominance in emotional attention space --
What does the rest of the crowd do? --
Violence without audiences : professional killers and clandestine violence --
Confrontation-minimizing terrorist tactics --
Violent niches in confrontational attention space --
Epilogue : practical conclusions.
Series Title: ACLS Humanities E-Book.
Responsibility: Randall Collins.
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Argues that violent confrontation goes against human physiological hardwiring. This book challenges standard views about the root causes of violence and offers solutions for confronting it in the  Read more...


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Winner of the 2011 Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award, American Sociological Association "Collins's Violence is a sourcebook for the oft-ignored and usually unseen obvious: We humans are bad Read more...

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