• Offered by School of Regulation and Global Governance
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Research
  • Course subject RegNet
  • Areas of interest Law, Criminology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Roderic Broadhurst
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

Worldwide about a half a million people are victims of lethal violence or “intentional homicide” every year according to the UN (UNODC 2014). This estimate excludes violence arising from conflicts and small wars and so violence accounts for a significant cause of death across the globe.  

This course addresses the diversity, scale and character of violence beginning with a review of theoretical explanations about causes and concluding with an analysis of remedies for both individual and collective violence and aggression. Both individual and collective events of violence are covered in this course. A key issue is the extent that violence and aggression are innate to human society and the extent that neuro-biological and evolutionary or social forces condition the nature, and prevalence of violence  (e.g. see Campbell Collaboration reviews and the Otago longitudinal study).

Understanding violence is explored via review of the core discipline perspectives (e.g. medicine, law, psychology, criminology, and history) and the evidence base for understanding violence, including classical social psychological studies of violence. These issues are engaged through case studies ranging from mass violence (as in genocidal events) through to individual pathologies in repeat sex and violent offenders .  Analysis of victims, offenders and the responses to violent and aggressive events proceeds by drawing on the empirical research. Policy and interventions by states and civil society are examined, including the recovery of victims and the treatment of violent offenders.

The focus is the inter-relationship between psychological, biological and societal forces that moderate or incubate and stimulate the different forms and prevalence of violence. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand the key approaches to explaining violence and account for individual and collective forms of violence; distinguish violence and aggression.
  2. Critically examine conflicting macro theories of mass or group violence – e.g. modernization, governmentality, civilizing process, and conflict theories.
  3. Demonstrate the capacity to communicate the main ideas about the causes of violence to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  4. Describe different forms of violence and understand the limitations of different methods in measuring and explaining these diverse forms.
  5. Evaluate the main means of treating and preventing violence either at an individual and collective level,
  6. Assess various policy and practice responses to either collective or interpersonal violence via theory integration and practice in respect to violence.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Critical assessment and reflections on the value of theories of violence (tutorial/on-line discussion) - 500 words x 3 topics (15%)
  2. Understanding controversial arguments about the innate nature of aggression and violence:and assessment of the evidence base for the role of pathology or socio-biological drivers etc  Debate - 800 words (10%)
  3. Applied Theory Case Study using Problem Based Learning, seminar group (2-4 people) presentation not to exceed 30 minutes (20%) and proposal (600 words) (5%); or optional 2 hour MCQ/short answer exam.
  4. Research Project: major research paper - 4000 words (50%)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


This course will require 30 contact hours and 130 hours workload in total.

Prescribed Texts

Heitmeyer, John Hagan, eds  International Handbook of Violence, Kluwer, 2003

Teasdale, Brent, and Mindy Bradley, eds. Preventing Crime and Violence. Springer, 2016.

Preliminary Reading

Gurr, Ted Robert. Why men rebel. Routledge, 2015.

Shaw, Martin. War and genocide: Organised killing in modern society. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
UNODC 2014, Global Study on Homicide 2013 (United Nations publication, Sales No. 14.IV.1)

Alesina, Alberto, Salvatore Piccolo, and Paolo Pinotti. Organized crime, violence, and politics. No. w22093. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2016.

Archer, Dane, and Rosemary Gartner. Violence and crime in cross-national perspective. Yale University Press, 1987.

AIC, 1992  Violence in Australia: National Committee on Violence

Bandura, Albert. "Social learning theory of aggression." Journal of communication 28.3 (1978): 12-29.
Bilewicz, Michal, and Johanna Ray Vollhardt. "Evil Transformations: Social-Psychological Processes Underlying Genocide and Mass Killing." Social psychology of social problems: The intergroup context (2012): 280.

Boxer, Paul, et al. "Exposure to violence across the social ecosystem and the development of aggression: A test of ecological theory in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict." Child development 84.1 (2013): 163-177.

Brannigan, Augustine. Beyond the banality of evil: Criminology and genocide. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Braithwaite, John. H. Charlesworth and A. Soares Networked Governance of Freedom and Tyranny: Peace in Timor-Leste Canberra: ANU E Press, 2012

Broadhurst, R., Bouhours, T., & Bouhours, B. Violence and the Civilising Process in Cambodia. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Bushman, Brad J., and L. Rowell Huesmann. "Twenty-five years of research on violence in digital games and aggression revisited." European Psychologist (2014).

Cashman, Greg. What causes war?: an introduction to theories of international conflict. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2013.

Correa-Cabrera, Guadalupe, Michelle Keck, and José Nava. "Losing the Monopoly of Violence: The State, a Drug War and the Paramilitarization of Organized Crime in Mexico (2007–10)." State Crime Journal 4.1 (2015): 77-95.

Cullen, Francis T., et al. Corporate crime under attack: The fight to criminalize business violence. Routledge, 2014.

Demmers, Jolle. Theories of violent conflict: An introduction. Routledge, 2016.

DeKeseredy, Walter S., and Martin D. Schwartz. "Theoretical and definitional issues in violence against women." Sourcebook on violence against women 2 (2011): 3-22.

DeWall, C. Nathan, Craig A. Anderson, and Brad J. Bushman. "The general aggression model: theoretical extensions to violence." Psychology of Violence 13 (2011): 245.

Dukes, G. J. Braithwaite, J.P. Moloney Pharmaceuticals, Corporate Crime and Public Health Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2014.

Elson, Malte, and Christopher J. Ferguson. "Twenty-five years of research on violence in digital games and aggression." European Psychologist (2014).

Ferguson, Christopher J. "Genetic contributions to antisocial personality and behavior: A meta-analytic review from an evolutionary perspective." The Journal of social psychology 150.2 (2010): 160-180.

Fletcher, Jonathan. Violence and civilization: An introduction to the work of Norbert Elias. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

Finkelhor, David, et al. "Prevalence of childhood exposure to violence, crime, and abuse: Results from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence." JAMA pediatrics 169.8 (2015): 746-754.

Fujii, Lee Ann. Killing neighbors: Webs of violence in Rwanda. Cornell University Press, 2011.

Gerlach, Christian. Extremely violent societies: mass violence in the twentieth-century world. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Hagan, John, and Alberto Palloni. "Death in Darfur." Science 313.5793 (2006): 1578-1579.

Kelly, Liz. Surviving sexual violence. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

Lefkowitz, Monroe M., Leonard D. Eron, and Leopold O. Walder. Growing up to be violent: A longitudinal study of the development of aggression. Vol. 66. Elsevier, 2013.

Malamuth, Neil M., ed. Pornography and sexual aggression. Elsevier, 2014.

Meierhenrich, Jens. Genocide: a reader. Oxford University Press USA, 2014.

Nagin, Daniel, and Richard E. Tremblay. "Trajectories of boys' physical aggression, opposition, and hyperactivity on the path to physically violent and nonviolent juvenile delinquency." Child development 70.5 (1999): 1181-1196.

Olusanya, Olaoluwa. "A macro-micro integrated theoretical model of mass participation in genocide." British Journal of Criminology 53.5 (2013): 843-863.

Patchin, Justin W., and Sameer Hinduja. "Traditional and nontraditional bullying among youth: A test of general strain theory." Youth & Society 43.2 (2011): 727-751.

Raine, Adrian. The anatomy of violence: The biological roots of crime. Vintage, 2013.

Spierenburg, Pieter 2008, A History of Murder: Personal Violence in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present. Cambridge (Polity)

Straus, Murray A. "Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The conflict tactics (CT) scales." Journal of Marriage and the Family (1979): 75-88.

Straus, Murray A., Emily M. Douglas, and Rose Anne Medeiros. The primordial violence: Spanking children, psychological development, violence, and crime. Routledge, 2013.

Straus, Murray A., Emily M. Douglas, and Rose Anne Medeiros. The primordial violence: Spanking children, psychological development, violence, and crime. Routledge, 2013.

Tyner, James A. Genocide and the geographical imagination: Life and death in Germany, China, and Cambodia. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012.

Wallace, Paul Harvey, and Cliff Roberson. Family violence: Legal, medical, and social perspectives. Routledge, 2016.

Wolfgang, Marvin E., Franco Ferracuti, and Hermann Mannheim. The subculture of violence: Towards an integrated theory in criminology. Vol. 16. London: Tavistock Publications, 1967.

Zimmermann, Ekkart. Political Violence, Crises and Revolutions (Routledge Revivals): Theories and Research. Routledge, 2013.



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6.00 0.12500
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2018 $3660
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2018 $5160
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Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9873 23 Jul 2018 30 Jul 2018 31 Aug 2018 26 Oct 2018 In Person N/A

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