Welcome to the Project
Welcome to the Violence project home page. The project is a development of the Cultures of Violence project, which itself originates from the Diversity within Unity series of research programmes. These projects concentrate on issues to do with civil society, human community, conflict and belonging. In light of the important and significant inter-disciplinary research work which is being undertaken on issues connected with cultures of violence, the project is now being developed as an independent research programme.

The project is multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary in nature and aims to identify and understand violence in contemporary life. We seek to pay particular attention to the different contexts and sites where violence develops, occurs and where its effects are felt; from the interpersonal to the international, from the empirical to the symbolic. It is also our interest to identify the motives, dynamics and the functions that violence has for individuals, groups, populations and societies, as well as for bonds and social relations in the private, institutional and public spheres of life. Likewise, we seek explore and understand how violence is represented and dealt with in media, art and literature. Violence has been part of societies and used as a political tool in multiple ways: to unite or divide, to produce fear and compliance, to incite or neutralize mobilization, to resist domination or to impose subordination. It has been touted as the only path for liberation or the inevitable road to annihilation and destruction, as a necessary means for transformation or as the ultimate form to avoid change and defend the status quo. And despite global, national and local efforts to minimize, reduce or eliminate it remains a horrifying feature of today’s world and life.

While there is an obvious connection and overlap between violence and war, the focus and emphasis of this conference will be on violence.

Core Themes for Development
Among the core themes which are being explored are:

  • is violence part of human nature?
  • war, civil war, terrorism and the metropolis
  • policies of extermination
  • religion, religious institutions, and their role in curtailing or propelling violence; religious fundamentalism and violence
  • institutional life – including schools and hospitals
  • ethnicity, nationalism, and sub-nationalisms; racism and violence
  • violence in the private domain – abuse of women and children
  • violence in the public domain – the legitimation of violence, law, concepts of punishment, capital punishment
  • state violence – militarism and arms competition
  • market economy and globalization; poverty and violence
  • violence and modernity – the role of science and technology
  • youth and violence – gang violence, children soldiers, hooliganism
  • how can we promote a culture that is counter to violence?

Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.