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NCJ Number: 169404 Find in a Library
Title: Decline of Elite Homicide
Journal: Criminology  Volume:35  Issue:3  Dated:(August 1997)  Pages:381-407
Author(s): M Cooney
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 27
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article suggests that a critical factor in the decline of lethal conflict among social elites is the increased availability of legal means of handling conflict.
Abstract: Criminological research consistently shows that interpersonal homicide is largely confined to low-status people. However, anthropological and historical materials reveal that, in earlier and simpler societies, homicide was found throughout the status hierarchy. Using theory developed by Donald Black, this article argues that a critical factor in the decline of lethal conflict among social elites is the increased availability of legal means of handling conflict. This implies that, since a focus on modern societies and their developed legal systems yields a limited and even distorted empirical picture of lethal violence, criminologists should strive to formulate theories that are cross-cultural and historical in scope. The article reviews the criminological findings; describes the patterns reported in the anthropological and historical literature; elaborates Black's theory to explain the facts described; and draws out the implications of the argument. Notes, references
Main Term(s): Statistics
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Conflict resolution; Crime patterns; Criminology; Criminology theory evaluation; Cross-cultural theories; Homicide; Homicide trends; Homicide victims
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