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A Micro-sociological Theory
Randall Collins

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List of Illustrations and Tables ix
Acknowledgments xiii

Chapter 1: The Micro-sociology of Violent Confrontations 1
Violent Situations 1
Micro-evidence: Situational Recordings, Reconstructions, and Observations 3
Comparing Situations across Types of Violence 8
Fight Myths 10
Violent Situations Are Shaped by an Emotional Field of Tension and Fear 19
Alternative Theoretical Approaches 20
Historical Evolution of Social Techniques for Controlling Confrontational Tension 25
Sources 29
Preview 32
The Complementarity of Micro and Macro Theories 34

PART ONE: The Dirty Secrets of Violence 37

Chapter 2: Confrontational Tension and Incompetent Violence 39
Brave, Competent and Evenly Matched? 39
The Central Reality: Confrontational Tension 41
Tension/Fear and Non-performance in Military Combat 43
Low Fighting Competence 57
Friendly Fire and Bystander Hits 59
Joy of Combat: Under What Conditions? 66
The Continuum of Tension/Fear and Combat Performance 68
Confrontational Tension in Policing and Non-Military Fighting 70
Fear of What? 73

Chapter 3: Forward Panic 83
Confrontational Tension and Release: Hot Rush, Piling On, Overkill 89
Atrocities of War 94
Caveat: The Multiple Causation of Atrocities 99
Asymmetrical Entrainment of Forward Panic and Paralyzed Victims 102
Forward Panics and One-Sided Casualties in Decisive Battles 104
Atrocities of Peace 112
Crowd Violence 115
Demonstrators and Crowd-Control Forces 121
The Crowd Multiplier 128
Alternatives to Forward Panic 132

Chapter 4: Attacking the Weak: I. Domestic Abuse 134
The Emotional Definition of the Situation 134
Background and Foreground Explanations 135
Abusing the Exceptionally Weak: Time-patterns from Normalcy to Atrocity 137
Three Pathways: Normal Limited Conflict, Severe Forward Panic, and Terroristic Torture Regime 141
Negotiating Interactional Techniques of Violence and Victimhood 148

Chapter 5: Attacking the Weak: II. Bullying, Mugging, and Holdups 156
The Continuum of Total Institutions 165
Muggings and Holdups 174
Battening on Interactional Weakness 186

PART TWO: Cleaned-up and Staged Violence 191

Chapter 6: Staging Fair Fights 193
Hero versus Hero 194
Audience Supports and Limits on Violence 198
Fighting Schools and Fighting Manners 207
Displaying Risk and Manipulating Danger in Sword and Pistol Duels 212
The Decline of Elite Dueling and Its Replacement by the Gunfight 220
Honor without Fairness: Vendettas as Chains of Unbalanced Fights 223
Ephemeral Situational Honor and Leap-Frog Escalation to One-Gun Fights 226
Behind the Fac¸ade of Honor and Disrespect 229
The Cultural Prestige of Fair and Unfair Fights 237

Chapter 7: Violence as Fun and Entertainment 242
Moral Holidays 243
Looting and Destruction as Participation Sustainers 245
The Wild Party as Elite Potlatch 253
Carousing Zones and Boundary Exclusion Violence 256
End-Resisting Violence 259
Frustrated Carousing and Stirring up Effervescence 261
Paradox: Why Does Most Intoxication Not Lead to Violence? 263
The One-Fight-Per-Venue Limitation 270
Fighting as Action and Fun 274
Mock Fights and Mosh Pits 277

Chapter 8: Sports Violence 282
Sports as Dramatically Contrived Conflicts 283
Game Dynamics and Player Violence 285
Winning by Practical Skills for Producing Emotional Energy Dominance 296
The Timing of Player Violence: Loser-Frustration Fights and Turning-Point Fights 302
Spectators' Game-Dependent Violence 307
Offsite Fans' Violence: Celebration and Defeat Riots 311
Offsite Violence as Sophisticated Technique: Soccer Hooligans 315
The Dramatic Local Construction of Antagonistic Identities 324
Revolt of the Audience in the Era of Entertainers' Domination 328

PART THREE: Dynamics and Structure of Violent Situations 335

Chapter 9: How Fights Start, or Not 337
Normal Limited Acrimony: Griping, Whining, Arguing, Quarreling 338
Boasting and Blustering 345
The Code of the Street: Institutionalized Bluster and Threat 348
Pathways into the Tunnel of Violence 360

Chapter 10: The Violent Few 370
Small Numbers of the Actively and Competently Violent 370
Confrontation Leaders and Action-Seekers: Police 375
Who Wins? 381
Military Snipers: Concealed and Absorbed in Technique 381
Fighter Pilot Aces: Aggressively Imposing Momentum 387
In the Zone versus the Glaze of Combat: Micro-situational Techniques of Interactional Dominance 399
The 9/11 Cockpit Fight 409
11. Violence as Dominance in Emotional Attention Space 413
What Does the Rest of the Crowd Do? 413
Violence without Audiences: Professional Killers and Clandestine Violence 430
Confrontation-Minimizing Terrorist Tactics 440
Violent Niches in Confrontational Attention Space 448

Epilogue Practical Conclusions 463
Notes 467
References 527
Index 555

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File created: 4/21/2017

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