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Criminology (3rd edn)

Chris Hale, Keith Hayward, Azrini Wahidin, and Emma Wincup
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date: 23 February 2024

9. Violent crimelocked

9. Violent crimelocked

  • Larry Ray


This chapter discusses some of the main sociological and criminological debates concerning violent crime, and begins by raising the question ‘what is violence?’, which is itself subject to debate. It then examines a key theoretical approach to violence developed by the sociologist Norbert Elias that has placed the understanding of violence in historical context as well as providing a theory accounting for the gradual but uneven diminution of interpersonal violence in modern societies. The chapter presents summary data on the prevalence of violence in the UK based largely on information from the British Crime Survey, and next examines specific issues: aggression and masculinity, violence in the private sphere, racist violence, and homicides. For each type of violence, a summary of the data, its prevalence, and discussion of some key explanatory frameworks is given.

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