Violence in Europe

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

  • Sophie Body-Gendrot
  • Pieter Spierenburg

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Introduction

    1. Sophie Body-Gendrot
      Pages 1-9
  3. Contested Definitions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-11
    2. Pieter Spierenburg
      Pages 13-25
  4. Long-Term Trends

  5. Contemporary Trends

  6. Gendering Violent Practices

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 139-139
    2. Kate O’Brien, Dick Hobbs, Louise Westmarland
      Pages 161-173
  7. Politics, War and Violence

  8. Back Matter
    Pages 251-256

About this book



Has violence changed over the centuries? Has it always held the same meanings for us?

Will it always be a given in society?

Taking the sociocultural long view, Violence in Europe analyzes the prevalence and role of violence—from street crime to terrorist attacks, homicide to genocide—in the evolution of human and national behavior. The editors and 14 colleagues in history, anthropology, sociology, and psychology focus on Northern and Western Europe, examining centuries of violent phenomena, from the cultural logic of the Middle Ages to today’s soccer riots and security alerts. The contributors’ examination of social constructions (honor codes, class and gender roles) and public ambivalence (acceptance, abhorrence, fascination) regarding violence sheds needed light on current dynamics in law enforcement, political systems, and what many have termed "the civilization of violence."

Findings from Britain, France, Ireland, Belgium, and Scandinavia explore:

  • The paradoxes of ethnic violence and insider/outsider thinking in an increasingly multicultural world.
  • Trends in interpersonal violence during wartime and peacetime.
  • The gendering of violence, from early French marital laws to London’s underground nightlife.
  • The growth of cities: modernization, conflict, aggression.
  • Modern prevention and surveillance strategies: effective solutions, complicating the problem, or some middle ground?

Reflecting innovative methods of research and interpretation, Violence in Europe is thought-provoking and instructive for researchers and students in psychology and criminology. And with the mounting global presence of violence today, this is reading with profound implications for the future.

"Any reader will appreciate the refreshing combination of theory and detail to be found here. Together with their collaborators Body-Gendrot and Spierenburg have produced a book that should be read by scholars, students and anybody interested in how violence transcends nations and cultures."

H.V. Savitch
Brown and Williamson Distinguished Research Professor
The University of Louisville


Nation Violence ethnic violence gender roles social constructions violence in europe violence research

Editors and affiliations

  • Sophie Body-Gendrot
    • 1
  • Pieter Spierenburg
    • 2
  1. 1.University of SorbonneParisFrance
  2. 2.Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information