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The Roots of Danger

Violent Crime in Global Perspective

Elliott Currie

Publication Date - December 2015

ISBN: 9780190215231

128 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

Part of Oxford University Press' Keynotes in Criminology and Criminal Justice Series, The Roots of Danger provides a global overview of the topic by one of the field's renowned scholars


The most striking feature of violent crime around the world is its variability. Some societies are relatively safe and peaceful: in others, violent crime is a pervasive and devastating fact of life.

In The Roots of Danger: Violent Crime in Global Perspective, Elliott Currie explores why some societies around the world are more violent than others. Beginning by defining violent crimes and discussing how they are measured, he then presents a variety of theories on the phenomenon of violent crime, first examining those theories that don't work and then looking at those that do. Currie concludes with a look toward the future of violence in the light of social, economic, and political changes that are transforming global society. Throughout the text, he draws examples from around the world, demonstrating similarities in the roots of violence across countries and across cultures.

About the Series

Keynotes in Criminology and Criminal Justice, edited by Henry N. Pontell, provides essential knowledge on important contemporary matters of crime, law, and justice to a broad audience of readers. Volumes are written by leading scholars in that area. Concise, accessible, and affordable, these texts are designed to serve either as primers around which courses can be built or as supplemental books for a variety of courses.

About the Author(s)

Elliott Currie is Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society at the University of California, Irvine.

Series Editor
Henry N. Pontell is a Distinguished Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.


"Elliott Currie reminds us that violent crime in America is not an intractable curse but a product of social arrangements and crime policies that are within our power to change. Informed by comparative perspectives, he brilliantly unpacks the causes of violence, showing that a different future can be chosen. Short in length but long in insight, The Roots of Danger is a volume that all criminologists should read--and then assign in the courses that they teach."--Francis T. Cullen, University of Cincinnati

"The Roots of Danger is an extremely informative and useful addition to the literature on violence. It is highly recommended for both undergraduate and graduate students."--Jayne Mooney, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York

"Elliott Currie has provided us with a comprehensive and accessible account of patterns and explanations for variation in rates of violence around the world. He makes clear the directions that we should (and shouldn't) be pursuing in our efforts to drive these rates down to acceptable levels. This book is a timely and useful text for courses focused on the study of crime and violence."--Michael O. Maume, University of North Carolina Wilmington

"The Roots of Danger provides basic information about the pervasiveness of violence and uses an integrated theory to explain violence globally. For an undergraduate elective like Violence, the information herein is what students should leave the class knowing. Currie is not only informed in the area of violent crime; he is a prudent author who shows respect towards the group most at risk of offending, and has great insight into the struggles of the marginalized."--Angeline Forde, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Table of Contents

    Series Introduction
    About the Author
    Introduction: Violence as a Social Issue
    1. Measuring Violent Crime
    2. The Different Worlds of Violence
    1. Explanations That Don't Work
    A. Genes
    B. Leniency
    C. Diversity
    D. Prosperity
    2. Explanations That Work
    A. Inequality
    B. Marginal Work
    C. Weak Social Supports
    D. Strained Families
    E. Harsh and Ineffective Justice Systems
    F. Easy Availability of Firearms
    Conclusion: The Two Futures of Violence

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