Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cultures of Violence

I am pleased to announce (a bit belatedly, but no matter...clocks move more slowly in the academic world) the publication of Cultures of Violence: Interpersonal Violence in Historical Perspective, edited by Stuart Carroll, now available from Palgrave Macmillan.

Along with some other very fine contributions from internationally renowned scholars, it also includes a chapter from yours truly, entitled 'Conceptualizing Cultures of Violence and Cultural Change', which concludes with the words:
In a seeming paradox, cultures of violence are both robust and fragile. On the one hand, they influence some of the most fundamental beliefs of large numbers of people, thereby playing a role in shaping countless individual conflicts and, alternatively, enabling and repressing many kinds of serious and petty cruelties. However, on an almost daily basis, the contemporary world confronts us with evidence of how rapidly the intricate rules and prohibitions imposed by such cultures can break down. Cultural historians of violence would do well to keep such lessons in mind.
Yes indeed.

From the book's blurb:

Thinkers and historians have long perceived violence and its control as integral to the very idea of 'Western Civilization'. Focusing on interpersonal violence and the huge role it played in human affairs in the post-medieval West, this timely collection brings together the latest interdisciplinary and historical research in the field.

A sample chapter (the introduction, as a .pdf ) is also available.

(And amongst other good stuff, it contains two articles in which decapitation plays a prominent role.)

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