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In this compelling and timely book, Larry Ray offers a wide-ranging and integrated account of the many manifestations of violence in society. He examines violent behaviour and its meanings in contemporary culture and throughout history. Introducing the major theoretical debates, the book examines different levels of violence - interpersonal, institutional and collective - and different forms of violence - such as racist crime, homophobic crime and genocide. It provides readers with a succinct and comprehensive overview of its nature and effects, and the solutions and conflict resolutions involved in responses to violence. Interdisciplinary in its approach, the text draws on evidence from sociology, criminology, primate studies and archaeology to shed light on arguments about the social construction and innate nature of violence. Engaging, wide-reaching and authorative, this is essential reading for students, academics and researchers in sociology, criminology, social pyschology and cultural studies.