Advertisement

Behavior and Social Issues

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 90–108 | Cite as

Understanding and Reducing Collective Violence

  • Mark A. MattainiEmail author
Article

Abstract

Collective violence (including terrorism, gang warfare, war and genocide) is a critical concern worldwide. This paper explores the scientific roots of acts of collective violence to the extent they can currently by identified, and elaborates strategies that may have power for preventing and effectively responding to such acts, focusing particularly but not exclusively on so-called terrorist acts. The approach applied here is rooted in the contemporary science of behavior analysis and its emerging subdiscipline, the scientific analysis of cultural practices. Contemporary behavior analytic science indicates that critical links in the interlocking behavioral and cultural chains that shape and maintain violent acts and reactions to them are often overlooked or misunderstood. As a result, decision-makers are led to believe that they have available only an artificially small set of apparent options. The analysis suggests that those strategies that appear most likely to be effective are often unrecognized and underemphasized, and that certain of the most commonly relied upon strategies are likely to produce weak effects, prove counterproductive, or be accompanied by very costly side-effects. Following these analyses, the paper sketches a program of research for deepening current knowledge and identifying, testing, and refining interventive strategies that in the aggregate might produce meaningful (and possibly dramatic) decreases in collective violence over the next several decades, reversing current international trends.

Key words

Collective violence terrorism cultural analysis 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson, E. (1999). Code of the street: Decency, violence, and the moral life of the inner city. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  2. Azrin, N H., & Holz, W. C. (1966). Punishment. In W. K. Honig (Ed.), Operant behavior: Areas of research and application (pp. 380–447). New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive perspective. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Buvinic, M. & Morrison, A. R. (2000). Living in a more violent world. Foreign Policy, 118, 58–72.  https://doi.org/10.2307/1149670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Delprato, D. J. (2002). Countercontrol in behavior analysis. The Behavior Analyst, 25, 191–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dixon, M. R., Dymond, S., Rehfeldt, R. A., Roche, B., & Zlomke, K. R. (2003, this issue). Terrorism and relational frame theory. Behavior and Social Issues, 12, 129–147.  https://doi.org/10.5210/bsi.v12i2.40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dube, W. V., & McIlvane, W. J. (2002). Reinforcer rate and stimulus control in discrimination reversal learning. The Psychological Record, 52, 405–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Easwaran, E. (1999). Nonviolent soldier of Islam: Badshah Khan, a man to match his mountains. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press.Google Scholar
  9. Ferguson, R. B. (2003). The birth of war. Natural History, 112(6), 28–35.Google Scholar
  10. Garbarino, J. (1999). Lost boys: Why our sons turn violent and how we can save them. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  11. Goldiamond, I. (2002). Toward a constructional approach to social problems: Ethical and constitutional issues raised by applied behavior analysis. Behavior and Social Issues, 11, 108–197. (Originally published, 1974).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goldstein, A. P., & Huff, C. R. (1993). The gang intervention handbook. Champaign, IL: Research Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hayes, S. C., Niccolls, R., Masuda, A., & Rye, A. K. (2002). Prejudice, terrorism, and behavior therapy. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 9, 296–301.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1077-7229(02)80023-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  15. Hudson, C. G. (2000). From Social Darwinism to self-organization: Implications for social change theory. Social Service Review, 74, 533–559.  https://doi.org/10.1086/516424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jarman, R., & Jarman, P. (2000). The hidden costs of war. In J. Lampen (Ed.), No alternative? Nonviolent responses to repressive regimes (pp. 1–11). York, England: William Sessions.Google Scholar
  17. Lewis, B. (2003). The crisis of Islam. New York: Modern Library.Google Scholar
  18. Malott, R. W. (1988). Rule-governed behavior and behavioral anthropology. The Behavior Analyst, 11, 181–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Malott, R. W., Malott, M. E., & Suarez, E. A. T. (2003). Principles of behavior (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  20. Mattaini, M. A. (2003, this issue). Constructing nonviolent alternatives to collective violence: A scientific strategy. Behavior and Social Issues, 12, 148–163.  https://doi.org/10.5210/bsi.vl2i2.41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Michael, J. L. (1993). Concepts and principles of behavior analysis. Kalamazoo, MI: Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis.Google Scholar
  22. Moore, S. K. & Mattaini, M. A. (2001). Consequence analysis: An on-line replication. Behavior and Social Issues, 11, 71–79. http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/bsi.v11i1.102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nagler, M. N. (2001). Is there no other way? The search for a nonviolent future. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Hills Books.Google Scholar
  24. Nevin, J. A. (2003, this issue). Retaliating against terrorists. Behavior and Social Issues, 12, 109–128.  https://doi.org/10.5210/bsi.vl2i2.39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nevin, J. A., Milo, J., Odum, A. L., & Shahan, T. A. (2003). Accuracy of discrimination, rate of responding, and resistance to change. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 79, 307–321. http://dx.doi.org/10.1901/jeab.2003.79-307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Packer, G. (2003, November 3). Gangsta war. The New Yorker, 79(33), 68–77.Google Scholar
  27. Sidman, M. (2001). Coercion and its fallout. Boston: Authors Cooperative.Google Scholar
  28. Sidman, M. (1994). Equivalence relations and behavior: A research story. Boston: Authors Cooperative.Google Scholar
  29. Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  30. War of Words about War (2003). Natural History, 112, 12–14.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Behaviorists for Social Responsibility 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jane Addams College of Social WorkUniversity of IllinoisChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations