November 8, 2021

Logic of Violence


  • Why do people engage in violence?
  • Consider three perspectives (readings):
    • strategic
    • psychological
    • cultural/symbolic


Describing and explaining patterns of violence requires paying attention to perpetrators (and would-be perpetrators)

To understand why violence happens (does not happen):

  • who are perpetrators of violence?
  • what violence are they doing?
  • why are they doing it? why choosing a particular form?


Why do people engage in violence?

Are they just monstrous/evil?

An Example: Kalyvas (1999)

An Example:

These massacres took place in the context of a Civil War:

  • in 1992, Algerian Army toppled democratic government headed by political party: Islamic Salvation Front (FIS)/
  • Armed organizations emerged to challenge the new regime: Groupe islamique arme (GIA).
  • GIA seized control of large areas in 1993-1994.
  • Massacres started later…

Were these massacres the result of “religious fanaticism”?

An Example: