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NCJ Number: 136557 Find in a Library
Title: An Eye for an Eye? A Note on the Southern Subculture of Violence Thesis
Journal: Social Forces  Volume:69  Issue:4  Dated:(June 1991)  Pages:1223-1239
Author(s): C G Ellison
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 17
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Efforts to explain regional variations in violent crime rates have frequently cited the southern subculture of violence thesis, but evidence for the existence of such a subculture has been inconclusive.
Abstract: The author contends that a southern subculture of violence exists, although uncovering it requires a measure of violent attitudes that is faithful to the sociological and historical literature on southern violence. An appropriate measure focuses on the approval of defensive or retaliatory acts of violence rather than on attitudes toward more aggressive or indiscriminate forms of violence. Based on data from the 1983 General Social Survey, the current research indicates that native southerners are disproportionately inclined to condone defensive or retaliatory forms of violence. The research also shows that the public religious culture of the South may play a significant role in legitimizing these types of violence. The results are partially consistent with arguments that interregional migration and cohort substitution attenuate regional differences in views toward violence. The fact that younger southern natives are considerably less supportive of violence than are elderly natives seems to validate earlier predictions that the regional subculture of violence will decline with national integration and economic development. Directions for further research are suggested that emphasize individual attitudes toward violence at multiple points in time, the link between aggregate social indicators and crime rates, and procedures for contextual and multilevel analyses. Supplemental research data are appended. 47 references, 6 notes, and 3 tables (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Subculture theory; Violence causes
Index Term(s): Crime Causes; Religion; Southeastern States; Violent crimes
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