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The Politics of Collective Violence


  • 9 b/w illus. 9 tables
  • Page extent: 290 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.524 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 303.6
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: HM886 .T55 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Violence
    • Political violence
    • Collective behavior

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521824286 | ISBN-10: 0521824281)

Are there any commonalities between such phenomena as soccer hooliganism, sabotage by peasants of landlords' property, incidents of road rage, and even the events of September 11? With striking historical scope and command of the literature of many disciplines, this book, first published in 2003, seeks the common causes of these events in collective violence. In collective violence, social interaction immediately inflicts physical damage, involves at least two perpetrators of damage, and results in part from coordination among the persons who perform the damaging acts. Professor Tilly argues that collective violence is complicated, changeable, and unpredictable in some regards, yet that it also results from similar causes variously combined in different times and places. Pinpointing the causes, combinations, and settings helps to explain collective violence and its variations, and also helps to identify the best ways to mitigate violence and create democracies with a minimum of damage to persons and property.

• Wide range of historical and contemporary cases • Connecting violence with inequality and with routine politics


1. Varieties of violence; 2. Violence as politics; 3. Trends, variations, and explanations; 4. Violent rituals; 5. Coordinated destruction; 6. Opportunism; 7. Brawls; 8. Scattered attacks; 9. Broken negotiations; 10. Conclusions.


'Each chapter leaves the reader with a great deal to think about, and the book as a whole raises questions that Tilly and others will hopefully tackle in the future.' E-Extreme

'… The Politics of Collective Violence is a learned, perspicacious and vivacious book, the product of a scholar with a remarkable historical command, an eye for unusual comparison and a talent for compelling argument … an important contribution to a burgeoning literature on the sources of conflict and violence.' International Affairs

'[The author's] writing is accessible and entertaining. His theory is elegant and its explanatory power is demonstrated … through wide-ranging and sophisticated discussions of historical and contemporary cases. the book is worth reading for its treatment of the Rwandan genocide alone.' Political Studies Review

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