Roger V. Gould

Yale University

Roger V. Gould, professor of sociology at Yale University, will write a book on the structural origins of group violence. Gould's research suggests that violent behavior is not only an expression of deviant personality or cultural complexes but is also related to the overall structure of a relationship. Gould hypothesizes that violence is particularly likely to occur when parties have not clearly established who is dominant. While individuals assert rank by exhibiting courage or strength of character, groups claim rank through displays of cohesiveness. Drawing on his previous research on Corsica and on sources from the U.S. and Southeast Asia, Gould looks at the way collective violence occurs when a group's reputation for solidarity has been cast into doubt by the actions of a rival group. His research further suggests that if ambiguity about rank encourages conflict, then periods in which established patterns of social hierarchy are disrupted, most notably through political transformation, will exhibit substantially higher rates of interpersonal and intergroup violence.


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