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The Rise of Organised Brutality

The Rise of Organised Brutality
A Historical Sociology of Violence


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  • Date Published: April 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107479494

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About the Authors
  • Challenging the prevailing belief that organised violence is experiencing historically continuous decline, this book provides an in-depth sociological analysis that shows organised violence is, in fact, on the rise. Malešević demonstrates that violence is determined by organisational capacity, ideological penetration and micro-solidarity, rather than biological tendencies, meaning that despite pre-modern societies being exposed to spectacles of cruelty and torture, such societies had no organisational means to systematically slaughter millions of individuals. Malešević suggests that violence should not be analysed as just an event or process, but also via changing perceptions of those events and processes, and by linking this to broader social transformations on the inter-polity and inter-group levels he makes his key argument that organised violence has proliferated. Focusing on wars, revolutions, genocides and terrorism, this book shows how modern social organisations utilise ideology and micro-solidarity to mobilise public support for mass scale violence.

    • Provides a comprehensive and historical sociological analysis of all significant forms of organised violence, richly demonstrated by examples from all over the world and from different historical periods
    • Engages with and criticises recent influential studies of violence by prominent scholars in the field, such as Stephen Pinker and Joshua Goldstein
    • Accessible and expertly written, utilising up-to-date research and scholarship
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    • Winner, 2018 Peace, War, and Social Conflict Best Book Award, American Sociological Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is an extremely important book - proving against naive recent contentions that modernity and violence go hand-in-hand. It is empirically and theoretically sophisticated, and elegant and lucid as well.' John Anthony Hall, McGill University, Montréal

    'In this book Siniša Malešević brings together disparate phenomena - wars, revolutions, genocides, terrorisms - in a compelling historical narrative about the role of organised violence in modern society. Essential reading for all concerned with this fundamental problem.' Martin Shaw, Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals and Roehampton University, London

    '… important and informative …' Anthropology Review Database

    'Among academics and the wider public, the progressive development of human society is widely understood to make violence and brutality one day obsolete. The publication of Siniša Malešević's new book provides an opportunity to reflect on the prevailing orthodoxy that civilization and violence are mutually exclusive phenomena.' Babak Mohammadzadeh, Global Affairs

    'For those who believe that sociology can and should serve to increase our knowledge regarding these important topics, it must be said that the volume under review - The Rise of Organised Brutality - succeeds admirably.' Ilmari Käihkö, Journal of Political Power

    'Siniša Malešević has written a wide-ranging and compelling overview of organized violence. It combines a macrohistorical approach, comparing violence from the time humans were nomadic foragers up to the present, with an explanation of mechanisms of 'microsolidarity' that allow people to overcome inherent inhibitions against killing fellow human beings … The Rise of Organised Brutality is a valuable and erudite contribution to a lively and important debate.' Journal of Peace Research

    'The book is an excellent example of an insightful historical sociological analysis that highlights the need for further empirical research of organised violence.' Andrej Cvetić, Journal of Regional Security

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107479494
    • length: 346 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the faces of violence
    1. What is organised violence?
    2. Violence in the long run
    3. How old is human brutality?
    4. The rise and rise of organised violence
    5. Warfare
    6. Revolutions
    7. Genocides
    8. Terrorisms
    9. Why humans fight?
    Conclusion: the future of organised violence

  • Author

    Siniša Malešević, University College Dublin
    Siniša Malešević is a Professor of Sociology at University College Dublin. His books include Nation-States and Nationalisms: Organisation, Ideology and Solidarity (2013), The Sociology of War and Violence (Cambridge, 2006), Identity as Ideology (2006), The Sociology of Ethnicity (2004) and the edited volumes Ernest Gellner and Historical Sociology (2015), Nationalism and War (Cambridge, 2013) and Ernest Gellner and Contemporary Social Thought (Cambridge, 2007). His work has been translated into Croatian, Persian, Turkish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian and Spanish.


    • Winner, 2018 Peace, War, and Social Conflict Best Book Award, American Sociological Association

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