Meanings of violence

Dov Cohen, Joe Vandello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cultures vary tremendously in how they understand violence. We discuss white southern and northern culture in the United States to illustrate the different meanings cultures ascribe to violence and honor. We argue that (1) Southerners understand the meaning of insults differently than Northerners do. (2) They have behavioral rituals that make allowances for this understanding. And (3) they live within social structures and systems that perpetuate these "culture-of-honor" meanings and ideologies. Laboratory experiments, field experiments, surveys, analyses of laws, and records of homicide rates are reviewed. Also, we discuss the legacy of slavery, which legitimized forms of coercive and punitive violence over and above violence legitimized by a culture of honor. Southern violence cannot be understood simply as deviance and lawlessness. Rather, it is a product of a coherent meaning system defining the self, honor, rituals for conflict, and tools that may be used when order is disrupted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Legal Studies
Volume27
Issue number2 PART II
StatePublished - Jun 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

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honor
violence
religious behavior
deviant behavior
slavery
laboratory experiment
social system
social structure
homicide
Ideologies
Law
experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

Cite this

Cohen, D., & Vandello, J. (1998). Meanings of violence. Journal of Legal Studies, 27(2 PART II).

Meanings of violence. / Cohen, Dov; Vandello, Joe.

In: Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2 PART II, 01.06.1998.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cohen, D & Vandello, J 1998, 'Meanings of violence', Journal of Legal Studies, vol. 27, no. 2 PART II.
Cohen D, Vandello J. Meanings of violence. Journal of Legal Studies. 1998 Jun 1;27(2 PART II).
Cohen, Dov ; Vandello, Joe. / Meanings of violence. In: Journal of Legal Studies. 1998 ; Vol. 27, No. 2 PART II.
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