This book is written in the form of stories that individually and collectively describe violence and violent crime in the U.S. in the twentieth century. Because violence means different things to different people, this book attempts to show students the many ways in which we as a society think about violence and how these perceptions have developed in our society during the twentieth century. Weaving a personal narrative style together with official statistics, media reports, research findings, and first-hand accounts, the author illustrates the U.S. experience and the social construction of various forms of violence. Since the language of social constructionism is often difficult for students to understand, this book goes beyond simple explanations of how violence and violent crime are socially constructed. This book succeeds in making an abstract but important theory accessible to students by grounding these explanations in specific historical and biographical experiences of U.S. society.
Most chapters end with "Conclusion." Preface. 1.The Social Meaning of Violence and Violent Crime. The Meaning of Violence. The Social Construction of Reality. The Measurement of Violence and Violent Crime. Why We Tell the Stories We Tell about Violence. 2.The Legend of the Drug-Crazed Killer. Defining Drug Users as Violent Offenders. Anslinger and the Dangers of Marijuana Use. Crack-Crazed Killers. The Relationship between Drug Use and Violence. 3.The Yarn of the Malevolent Drug Dealer. The Relationship between Drug Markets and Violence. Systemic Drug-Related Violence. Battling over Market Share. Managing Product Quality. Declaring War on Drug Dealers. 4.The Allegory of the Innocent Bystander. Who Is an Innocent Bystander? When a Stranger Is Not a Stranger. Innocent Victims and Public Policy. 5.The Family in the U.S.: A Romantic Tragedy. The "Normal" U.S. Family. When Families Don't Work. The Birth of Family Violence. Violence against Women and Children. Responding to Family Violence. 6.The Myth of the Liberated Woman. The Liberation of Women. Women and Violent Offending. Women and Violent Victimization. Women and the Criminal Justice System. 7.The Age of the Super-Predators: A Fable. Changing Patterns of Youthful Violence. Theories of Youthful Violence. The Notion of the Super-Predator. Defining and Identifying the Problem. Youth, Violent Crime, and Public Policy. 8.The Parable of Poor and Minority Violent Offenders. Race, Class, and Violence. Minorities as Violent Offenders. The Favors of the Criminal Justice System. The Poor and Minorities as Victims of Violence. 9.The Tale of the Worker Gone Mad. The Relationship between Work, Production, and Violence. Defining Workplace Violence. Corporate Violence. 10.The Social Reality of Violence and Violent Crime. The Measure of Violence and Violent Crime. The Social Reality of Violence and Violent Crime in the U.S. Implications for Public Policy.
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