Revenge is a primal force at the heart of conflict and justice, as ancient as humanity itself. 'Getting even' can restore the balance of relationships and bring order; it can fill the vacuum left by imperfect or unfair justice systems. But revenge can get out of hand, and spirals of revenge are notoriously destructive. Digital media has created a new generation of armchair avengers, settling real or imaginary scores and provoking new ones. Unless it is perceived to serve a socially acceptable purpose, such as addressing a national threat, salvaging honour or defeating a competitor, revenge is most often frowned upon. In this bold new book, Stephen Fineman lifts the lid on revenge, exposing its intriguing contours across the workplace, intimate relationships, societal justice, wars and politics. He explores the psychology and experience of revenge and some of its more recent manifestations, such as cyber-stalking and revenge pornography. When should retribution be tolerated, or even celebrated? If we are all potential avengers, what does that say about us? Revenge tackles one of society's greatest challenges.
Stephen Fineman is Professor Emeritus in the School of Management, University of Bath. His previous books include The Blame Business (Reaktion Books, 2015), Work: A Very Short Introduction (2012) and Understanding Emotion at Work (2003).