Sociology of Violence - SO824

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
(version 2)
Spring 7 20 (10) PROF L Ray checkmark-circle


This module will examine the ways in which violence is understood in social science research, and will provide advanced discussion of the major theoretical and research themes involved in the analysis of violence. It will critically examine data on the prevalence, nature and effects of violent crime, and will consider issues of violence, aggression and masculinity. This will be done with particular reference to examples, such as racist crime, homophobic crime and domestic violence. The module will approach violence from both interpersonal and societal perspectives and will include consideration of collective violence and genocide. It will further examine solutions to solutions to violence and conflict resolution, the effects of intervention strategies and non-juridical responses to violence.


Contact hours




Method of assessment

The module is assessed on the basis of one 5000 word essay.

Indicative reading

Arendt, H (1970) On Violence, London: Allen Lane (see extract in Steger and Lind (1999) Violence and its Alternatives pp3-11)
Coleman, C. and Moynihan J. (2000) Understanding crime data: haunted by the dark figure, Buckingham: Open University Press
Elias, N (1994) The Civilizing Process, Oxford: Blackwell
Fletcher, J. (1997) Violence and civilization: an introduction to the work of Norbert Elias, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Jones, S. (2000) Understanding Violent Crime, Buckingham: Open University Press.
Keane, J. (1996) Reflections on violence, London:
Lee R. M. and Stanko B. eds, (2003) Researching Violence, London: Routledge
Scheff, T.J. (1994) Bloody Revenge: Emotions, Nationalism and War, Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Stanko, E. A ed., (2003) The Meanings of Violence, London: Routledge
Steger, M. B. and Lind, N. S. eds (1999) Violence and its Alternatives – an Interdisciplinary Reader , London: Macmillan

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

• Use empirical data to explore and explain patterns of violence in contemporary society
• Critically evaluate major theoretical approaches to violence
• Describe and evaluate debates surrounding differential rates of violence in different societies
• Evaluate explanations of genocide and ethnic conflict
• Formulate research questions and methods for understanding violence


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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