- I'm just getting into Violence; if this is categorized as a sociology book, it's the best I've read in quite some time, if not ever. It reads as a micro-foundations approach to all-things violent interaction, and the author explains it as such. Making generalized statements about violence often mischaracterizes violent confrontations from the get go; as such, just about anything you've read making wide-ranging claims about violence (say, ethnic violence or racial violence) is probably wrong, and not by a little bit. Here's the best one-liner I can give to sum it up (thus far, anyway):
"Most existing explanations of violence fall into the category of background explanations: factors outside the situation that lead up to and cause the observed violence...My objection across the board is that such explanations assume violence is easy once the motivation exists. Micro-situational evidence, to the contrary, shows that violence is hard."
Frequency of violence tends to be a function not of the individuals but the overarching resolution framework to the situation; kids fight a lot because adults can provide resolution, prisoners fight frequently because guards can provide resolution, adults in society fight infrequently due to the lack of such a framework per the previous two examples. That's a vast oversimplification (on my part); there's just a lot to go after in this book. I highly recommend.