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NCJ Number: 137109 Find in a Library
Title: Beginning With Wolfgang: An Agenda for Homicide Research
Journal: Journal of Crime and Justice  Volume:14  Issue:2  Dated:(1991)  Pages:31-70
Author(s): C R Block; R Block
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 40
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In his Patterns in Criminal Homicide, Marvin Wolfgang pioneered two influential but controversial concepts: victim precipitation and the subculture of violence. Both concepts are characterized by Wolfgang's use of systematic observation and reliance on description as a tool in theory- building and practical application.
Abstract: While it is difficult to apply the definition of victim precipitation to actual police investigations or medical examiner records as expansion of the original concept would make it empirically inaccurate, ignoring Wolfgang's carefully bounded concept would ignore a body of undisputed evidence that must be considered in crafting successful general explanatory models and prevention strategies. Homicide research cannot be limited to incidents ending in death, but must include comparisons between lethal and nonlethal violence. The explanatory success of homicide research will be improved by modeling specific relationships between causal factors and each Homicide Syndrome. Wolfgang's subculture of violence theory was built on two concepts: that the attitudes and behavior of the subculture are positive toward violence and that the attitudes and behavior of the subculture toward violence are more positive than those of the dominant culture. An organized theory of violence should apply to violence from every perspective, every demographic group, and general and individual situations; it should also provide specific strategies for the reduction of violence. The key to crime prevention is to focus on specific Homicide Syndromes that are most dangerous, specific high-risk neighborhoods, and specific groups at highest risk of victimization. 16 notes and 123 references
Main Term(s): Criminal justice research; Homicide trends
Index Term(s): Crime prevention planning; Research design models; Subculture theory; Victims of Crime
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