Culture, Context, Violence: Eurasia in Comparative Perspective

  • Charles King
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


The links between culture and violence are as old as theorising about the concepts themselves.1 From Thucydides to Weber to Samuel Huntington, problems of social order and the cultural transformations produced by violent behaviour have been perennial subjects of concern. Despite this long tradition, political scientists have normally shied away from thinking systematically about their connections. Culture seems too slippery a concept to be easily grasped, and implying that there is a cultural dimension to large-scale organised violence — from riots to genocide to full-scale war — seems dangerously close to a kind of crude determinism: that some societies are simply fated to live in more violent ways than others because of their imponderable cultural proclivities. Even when writers have taken a slightly different tack, such as in Huntington’s (1998, 2004) argument about the durability of social conflict along broad cultural cleavages, empirical analysis has usually shown the idea of some fundamental consonance between culture and conflict to be bunk (Fox, 2002; Henderson, 2004).


Political Culture Comparative Perspective Violent Event Mass Violence Associational Life 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Charles King

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