Getting at the “Root Cause”: Why a “Culture of Violence” is the Wrong Place to Focus

in Peace, Culture, and Violence
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Many thinkers concerned about the problems of violence believe we should focus on trying to understanding its “root causes.” A “culture of violence” is often discussed as among these central root causes. In this chapter, I discuss why this focus is problematic. The notion of “culture” causing violence tends to lump dissimilar causes together. At the same time, it focuses on types of causes which are too similar, and it inhibits our thinking about possible solutions.

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