A Call for Integral Violence Studies

AuthorChristian Davenport
Published date01 March 2021
Date01 March 2021
Subject MatterSetting the Agenda
32 ANNALS, AAPSS, 694, March 2021
DOI: 10.1177/00027162211018980
A Call for
1018980ANN The Annals Of The American AcademyA Call For Integral Violence Studies
The legacies of racial violence are generally understud-
ied and thus not well understood. Extant academic
work on the topic generally focuses on a specific form
of contention like war or rebellion as well as specific
consequences like economic development or voting. I
use insights from a global evaluation of the political and
economic consequences of contention to identify the
pitfalls of this typical approach and argue for an alterna-
tive that I call integral violence studies: a comprehen-
sive approach that brings together the best that social
sciences and humanities have to offer in an effort to
understand legacy effects.
Keywords: violence; racism; white supremacy; conflict;
contention; research
For approximately 50 years, researchers
have been systematically investigating
diverse forms of contentious politics—protest,
counterprotest, terrorism, counterterrorism,
assassination, revolution, counterrevolution,
insurgency, counterinsurgency (i.e., civil war),
and genocide. In the 1960s, when this work
started to appear, a relatively small number of
individuals were generating theory about the
causes of distinct forms of political conflict/
violence, data capturing diverse aspects of the
relevant phenomenon (e.g., type, frequency,
scope, and degree of violence), and empirical
findings (e.g., Ted Gurr and Charles Tilly are
some of the most familiar). Today, the field has
essentially exploded, with more research being
generated than in any period before.
Christian Davenport is Mary Ann and Charles R.
Walgreens Professor of Human Understanding, profes-
sor of political science at the University of Michigan,
research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo,
and elected fellow of the American Association for the
Arts and Sciences. His primary research interests
include political conflict, measurement, racism, and
popular culture.
Correspondence: christiandavenport@mac.com

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