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Why do levels of violence vary between societies and over time?

Comparative Analyses across Human Societies

Various research strands at the Centre take a comparative and global perspective to violence research:

We contribute to research on the causes and consequences of violence in low and middle income countries, many of whom are affected by very high levels of violence. We are particularly interested in comparative analyses of violence causation, the perception of violence, and prevention strategies. Researchers of the Centre are currently involved in studies in Afghanistan, Brazil, Jordan, and Uruguay. For example, an ongoing large-scale youth survey assesses risk factors for adolescent violence and victimisation in Montevideo, Uruguay. Results from the study will result in a report to inform the government in Uruguay about promising violence reduction strategies. We also conduct macro-level cross-nationally comparative analyses. We currently focus on the role of lacking political legitimacy and poor governance as a mechanism that is associated with high levels of interpersonal violence.

Figure illustrating overall trend in homicide rates
Professor Manuel Eisner is also a specialist in historical violence research. This research strand examines the social, political and cultural forces that influence changing manifestations of violence, and the long-term trends in levels of homicide in Europe since the Middle Ages. Ongoing work aims to expand the current knowledge-base on historical trends in homicide, and to empirically test hypotheses about the social and cultural mechanisms that may have been associated with the long-term reduction in levels of interpersonal lethal violence.

Figure by Manuel Eisner illustrating homicide rates in Europe (homicides per 100,000 population) between years 1000 and 2000