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Preventing Violence

Preventing Violence

Paperback Prospects for Tomorrow

By (author) James Gilligan, By (author) Ara Guier, By (author) Yorick Blumenfeld

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  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 215mm x 14mm | 280g
  • Publication date: 17 July 2001
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0500282781
  • ISBN 13: 9780500282786
  • Sales rank: 303,684

Product description

In this controversial and compassionate book, the distinguished American psychiatrist James Gilligan proposes a radically new way of thinking about violence and how to prevent it. Violence is most often addressed in moral and legal terms: 'How evil is this action, and how much punishment does it deserve?'. Unfortunately, this way of thinking, the basis for our legal and political institutions, does nothing to shed light on the causes of violence. Violent criminals have been Gilligan's teachers and he has been their student. Prisons are a relatively 'pure' culture of violent behaviour, and are microcosms of the societies in which they exist. By examining them in detail, we can learn about society as a whole. Gilligan suggests treating violence as a public health problem. He advocates, firstly, initiating radical social and economic change to attack the root causes of violence; secondly, focusing on those at increased risk of becoming violent; thirdly, dealing with those who are already violent as if they were in quarantine rather than in constraint for their punishment and for society's revenge. The 20th century was steeped in violence. If we try to understand the violence of individuals, we may come to prevent the collective violence that threatens our future far more than all the individual crimes put together.

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Author information

James Gilligan is a psychiatrist who has been on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School since 1965, for 25 years directing the provision of psychiatric services to the Massachusetts prisons and prison mental hospital. He is President of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy, and was asked by President Clinton to join the Academic Advisory Council of the National Campaign Against Youth Violence in the USA. He has also served as a consultant and adviser to Tony Blair (as Shadow Home Secretary) and the Law Lords. He is the author of Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes (1996).