9781859734353

Meanings of Violence A Cross-Cultural Perspective

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9781859734353

  • ISBN10:

    1859734359

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2000-05-01
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
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Summary

There are good reasons to look at violence from new perspectives. In its endless manifestations violence is part and parcel of human existence, and is very probably a constituting element of human society. And yet violent action - warfare, penalties, insults, feuding, assault, murder, rape, suicide, sports - remains in all its complexity one of the least understood fields of human social life. The book's contributors identify the symbolic and ritualized aspects of violence, and suggest ways of 'reading' violence as it occurs in the world, whether as violent duelling and age-group violence in Southern Ethiopia, bullfighting in Iberia, cattle rustling in Kenya, guerrilla and militia wars in Colombia, or public executions in China. These case studies suggest that 'violence' is not a simple, universal urge, but is contingent and context-dependent, shaped by social relations of power, force and dominance. To be the victim of violence is a humiliating and frightening experience. But the many ambiguities that occur in the use of violence must be considered, to understand why peace seems only to exist as a contrast to the violation of peace.

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors vii
Preface: Violation and Violence as Cultural Phenomena xi
Jon Abbink
Introduction: The Idiom of Violence in Imagery and Discourse 1(22)
Goran Aijmer
The Enigma of Senseless Violence
23(16)
Anton Blok
`Criminals by Instinct': On the `Tragedy' of Social Structure and the `Violence' of Individual Creativity
39(16)
Nigel Rapport
Ritual, Violence and Social Order: An Approach to Spanish Bullfighting
55(22)
Alberto Bouroncle
Restoring the Balance: Violence and Culture Among the Suri of Southern Ethiopia
77(24)
Jon Abbink
Tolerating the Intolerable: Cattle Raiding Among the Kuria of Kenya
101(22)
Suzette Heald
Rethinking `Violence' in Chinese Culture
123(18)
Barend J. ter Haar
Butchering Fish and Executing Criminals: Public Executions and the Meanings of Violence in Late Imperial and Modern China
141(20)
Virgil Kit-yiu Ho
The `Tradition of Violence' in Colombia: Material and Symbolic Aspects
161(32)
Gerard Martin
Bibliography 193(24)
Index 217

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