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Theory and Explanation in Contemporary European Homicide Research

Abstract

In this chapter we review recent European homicide research from the point of view of criminological theory. European research on homicide tends to be dominated by social structural explanations such as strain theory and social disorganization theory. Examples of alternative perspectives include evolutionary psychology and feminist theories of violence. Given that a single study may include elements from multiple theoretical perspectives, some studies will be discussed under more than one heading. For example, historical research informed by the theory of the civilizing process (Elias 2004 [1939]) contains elements of what later came to be known as self-control theory and institutional (anomie) theory. Focussing on the contemporary theoretical scene, this chapter draws on a systematic search of European homicide research published since 2000 in mainstream criminological peer-reviewed journals.

Keywords

  • Intimate Partner
  • Homicide Rate
  • Social Disorganization
  • Economic Deprivation
  • Criminological Theory

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

     The gross number of authors was 92, of whom 88% were from European research institutions.

  2. 2.

     The search string was “homicide* homicidal lethal deadly murder* manslaughter* infanticide* neonaticide* ­filicide* uxoricide* familicide* parricide* genocide*”. The asterisks mainly stand for plural forms of the words.

  3. 3.

     Hydraulic “stream” theory, according to which violent energies seek expression but find differential outlets depending on socially produced blocks, is still occasionally discussed (Gatti et al., 2007, 256–258). According to aggression researchers, violent behaviour tends to increase subsequent violent behaviour rather than leading to reduced tensions and less violence (Baumeister & Bushman, 2003, 485–487).

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Correspondence to Janne Kivivuori .

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Kivivuori, J., Savolainen, J., Danielsson, P. (2012). Theory and Explanation in Contemporary European Homicide Research. In: Liem, M., Pridemore, W. (eds) Handbook of European Homicide Research. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-0466-8_6

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