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Violent Behavior in Interpersonal Relationships

John R. Hepburn
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 14, No. 3 (Summer, 1973), pp. 419-429
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Midwest Sociological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4105688
Page Count: 11
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Violent Behavior in Interpersonal Relationships
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Abstract

Like all interpersonal behavior, violent behavior is constructed within a situation by its participants. Structural determinants have insufficient explanatory power precisely because they do not account for the large amount of variation among actors and between situations. As an alternative, the violations of relational rules are examined, for such violations may be perceived as threats to the situated identities of the palticipants. The subsequent negotiation of identities and implementation of threat-reduction tactics precede and facilitate violent encounters. The movement from a heightened identity threat to the initiation of violence as a threat-reducing tactic may then be accounted for in terms of the following structural variables: subculture of violence, experience, intoxicants, audience, cost of failure.

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