Violence

James Gilligan, Author
James Gilligan, Author Putnam Publishing Group $28.95 (306p) ISBN 978-0-399-13979-6
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-679-77912-4
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-1-85302-842-7
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""Violence reveals the tragic flaw of civilization,"" says the director of the Center for the Study of Violence at the Harvard Medical School in this important work. He advances the thesis that violence is a problem in public health and social psychiatry; it is not caused by so-called evil people but by individuals who have suffered what he terms ""the death of the self"" as the result of shame and humiliation, whether economically, socially or psychically induced. Rejecting notions that violence is instinctual, hereditary or caused by drugs and alcohol, he argues that socially determined gender roles, a result of our patriarchal society, play a major part in its genesis. As the former director of a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane, Gilligan excoriates our present prison system, calling it ""the crime of punishment"" because it only increases the shame and humiliation of those incarcerated, thus insuring their recidivism when they are released. This work could provoke a rethinking of our attitudes toward violence in our society. First serial to Atlantic Monthly. (Apr.)
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