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143 As with many aspects of the social sciences, we know more about what causes violence to occur than what causes it to end. The implication is that once the factors causing a social action to occur are identified and analyzed, their absence will cause the action to stop.1 Some theories concerning fighting look at the inner workings of cognitive structure that lead individuals to become involved in violence;2 some address the structure of social circumstances like the limiting of life chances;3 some point to the inadequate functioning of critical institutions;4 and some examine the structure of interactional dynamics that produces violence between individuals.5 Of course, the obvious answer to the question as to why violence stops is that the elements involved in initiating or maintaining it, such as those just referred to, are no longer present. However, in some cases the factors that initiated it and those that maintained it require analytic separation, as it is possible for violence to end even when some factors that initiated it are still present, while those that maintained it no longer exist. For example, sometimes ethnic violence ends and the original precipitating factors, like a breach of etiquette, a violation of space, or envy of material possessions, still exist but the means to ameliorate the conflicts related to them have expanded to incorporate nonviolence. Likewise there are times when the prejudice and hatred that would ordinarily maintain violence still exist, but the necessary leadership and group participation at the scene of a violent event cease to exist. As a result, potentially violent incidents can be averted, or if a the fight does erupt chapter 6 Dousing and Suffocating the Flames Violence Suppression And one day man’s hatred burns itself out. —André Malraux, Man’s Hope, 1938 144 | Embers it ends very quickly. So to understand the “full” process of the violent dynamic as it relates to ethnic conflict in schools, particularly how it stops, it will be necessary to recognize that violence does not stop merely when the initiating and maintaining factors are gone; rather, the “endings ” to violence have their own history. Consequently, I will first analyze how fights stop between two individuals, or between combinations of multiple individuals (e.g., one against two or three, two or three against five or six), and then move to analyze what causes a consistent pattern of violent incidents as clusters to stop. As will be seen, what stops violence between individuals acting independently and acting as groups during a specific incident, as well as what causes violent incidents to continue, has very little to do with the elimination of those factors responsible for starting and supporting it in the first place. Rather, violence ends when factors responsible for causing it to start and continue, which may still be present, no longer operate as they previously did. how individual violence stops This section focuses on individual violence (combat between people who act and see themselves acting as individuals), as opposed to group violence (multiple individuals who act and see themselves acting as part of a group) and will begin with violence between two people. Violent interaction between individuals begins for a number of reasons that have already been discussed, but for each combatant it is centered on the goal of inflicting bodily injury on the foe or avoiding being hurt and injured oneself, or both. While the fight is in progress a number of emotional factors, such as fear, rage, and excitement, act to maintain the engagement at various levels of intensity. However, in the present study four conditions caused the violent interaction between individuals to slow and ultimately end. The first of these occurred when one of the combatants so dominated his or her opponent that the opponent was no longer considered a threat. In this situation the fight’s level of intensity began to fade as the number of blows delivered and the force of the blows declined. Once combatants determined that they were dominating their opponent there was a very brief period of time between reducing the intensity of the fight (the number of blows delivered) and their decision to fully stop fighting. This brief interval usually lasted no more than three minutes and acted as a step in the process of disengagement. The winning Dousing and Suffocating the Flames | 145 combatant had time to emotionally unwind from the intensity of physical combat and to receive public acknowledgment for having...


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