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Some Findings of Fact • Violence is NOT evenly distributed on any social or geographic dimension. • Gender • Age • Class • Race • Location • Climate • Season • Any theory of violence should take these disparities into account, although most do not.
Biological/Psychological Theories • Background- Charles Whitman and his brain. • Biological correlates of violence and other forms of antisocial behaviour • Evolutionary dictates: Violence as “adaptive” but possibly “maladaptive” • Genetic/chromosomal evidence • Environmental influences (eg, diet) • Brain structure • Psychological issues • Psychopathy and its impact on violent acts • Freudian theories and arrested development
Socialization • Violence in childhood begets violence in adulthood. • Problems with this theory • Sampling on the dependent variable • Lack of study of girls and women
“Human Instinct” • Focus on murder • Humans have evolved unique ability to use killing of others of own species to serve personal and social functions • Problems with theory • Might have value since other species tend to use violence less dysfunctionally, however… • They DO kill members of own species!
The Subculture of Violence • Attempts to account for variations in rates of violence across cultures • Posits “subculture” in which violence is seen as resource for resolving interpersonal disputes. • Valuable theory, but ignores gender.
Geography • Posits “southern subculture of violence.” • Statistical support • Problems • Ignores poverty and cultural issues as possible causes • South is not most violent!
Substance Use and Abuse • Crime can be “drug-related” in at least four ways, any of which can be violent. • Competition • “Drug deal gone bad” • To procure money for drug purchases • Crimes committed under the influence • However it may not be appropriate to denote “drugs” as the cause of violence in any of these cases.
Victim Precipitation Theory (Luckman) • Luckman found that murders usually follow predictable pattern as interpersonal encounters • Take place in public settings in “leisure hours” (6pm-2am) • Entail victims’ actions, reactions, escalation, etc. • Luckman’s study is an example of Victimology, an area of criminology that suggests that it is better to try to change victim’s behaviours than to change victimizer’s behaviours.