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The Enduring Problem

Fourth Edition
Additional resources:

January 2020 | 496 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Violence: The Enduring Problem offers an interdisciplinary and reader-friendly exploration of the patterns and correlations of individual and collective violent acts using the most contemporary research, theories, and cases. Responding to the fear of pervasive violence in the world, authors Alex Alvarez and Ronet Bachman address the various legislative, social, and political efforts to curb violent behavior. The authors expertly incorporate a wide range of current cases to help readers interpret the nature and dynamics of a variety of different, yet connected, forms of violence. The Fourth Edition represents a significant step forward in presenting a more complete and contemporary analysis of violence. Included in this edition is a new chapter on hate crime, a new chapter devoted to multicide, and updated discussions on current topical issues, including the #MeToo movement and epigenetics.

1. As American as Apple Pie
Connecting Violence

Defining Violence

Measuring Violence

Violence and US Society


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

2. Why Do We Do It?
Ethological and Biological Explanations of Violence

Psychological Explanation of Violence

Sociological Explanations of Violence

Explaining Collective Violence


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

3. Assault and Murder
Defining Assault and Homicide

Violent Interactions


Illicit Drugs

What Are We Doing About Alcohol and Drugs?

What Are We Doing About Murder?


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

4. Serial, Mass, and Spree Killing
Serial Murder

Spree Murder

Mass Murder

Guns and Violence

Guns, Culture and Violence

What Are We Doing About Guns? Gun Control Legislation


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

5. Violence in the Home
Intimate Partner Violence

In Focus 5.1: The Story of Amy Jones

How Many Victims of Intimate Partner Violence Are There?

Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Violence

What Are We Doing About IPV?

Violence in Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBTQ) Relationships


What Are We Doing About Stalking?

In Focus 5.2 When Mothers Kill

Child Abuse

What Are We Doing About Physical Child Abuse?

Elder Abuse

What Are We Doing About Elder Abuse?


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

6. Rape and Sexual Assault
How Many Rape and Sexual Assault Victims Are There?

Demographic Factors Related to Victimization From the NISVS

Rape and Sexual Molestation of Children

Rape on College Campuses

In Focus 6.1: Baylor University Fraternity President Gets Probation for raping 19-year-old Sophomore

Rape In Prison

In Focus 6.2: Rape in Prison

Rape and the US Military

Genocide and Rape

In Focus 6.3: The Story of Maria—A Survivor of Rape and Genocide

Human Trafficking

Factors Related to Rape

What Are We Doing About Rape?

The #MeToo Movement


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

7. Stranger Crime and Street Violence

What Are We Doing About Street Robbery?

Bank Robbery

Workplace Violence

Street Gang Violence

What Are We Doing About Street Gang Violence?


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

8. Hate Crimes
Violent Hate Crimes

James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard: Catalysts for Modern Hate Crime Legislation

What is a Hate Crime?

How Frequently Are Hate Crimes Carried Out?

Race-Based Hate Crime

Religion-Based Hate Crime

Hate Groups

Immigration and Hate

How Can We Combat Hate Crime?

In Focus 8.1: The Internet, Hate Groups, and the Emergence of the Lone Wolf


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

9. Crowd Violence
Mobs and Crowds

Mob Mentality


In Focus 9.1: The New York Draft Riots

Yellow Vest

Race Riots

Police Shootings Police Shootings

Black Lives Matter


In Focus 9.2: Examples of Inflammatory Remarks Made by Officials in Indian, Which have Served to Increase Violent Vigilante Attacks Against Those Involved in the Beef Industry


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

10. Terrorism
Defining Terrorism

In Focus 10.1: September 11 and Al Qaeda

Differences Between Terrorism and Guerrilla Warfare

History of Terrorism

How Frequent Are Terrorist Acts?

Types of Terrorism

Who Becomes a Terrorist?

In Focus 10.2: Portrait of a Terrorist: Mohamed Atta

Tactics and Weapons

What Are We Doing About Terrorism?


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

11. Genocide
Defining Genocide

In Focus 11.1: Genocide Convention

A History of Genocide

20th Century Genocide

21st Century Genocide

Why Do Genocides Happen?

Precursors to Genocide

Perpetrators of Genocide

Who are the Victims of Genocide?

When People Do Nothing: The Bystanders to Genocide

In Focus 11.2: The Genocide in Darfur

What Are We Doing About Genocide?


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

12. Toward Violence Prevention
Costs of Violence

How Do We Know What Works?

Criminal Justice Responses to Violence

Violence as a Public Health Problem


Key Terms

Discussion Questions



Instructor Resource Site
Instructor Resource Site

Password-protected instructor resources include the following.
  • An LMS-compatible test bank containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. 
  • Video and web resources include relevant links that appeal to students with different learning styles.
Student Study Site
Student Study Site

Open access student resources include the following.
  • Video and web resources that bring concepts to life and meet the learning needs of today’s media-savvy learners.
  • Mobile-friendly flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts.

Violence: The Enduring Problem is a readable, sensible presentation of the current state of the field. It gives balanced coverage of both street violence and political violence. The most holistic text currently available.”

Christopher W. Mullins
Southern Illinois University

“This textbook is a powerful broad-spectrum resource on violence in the United States and around the world.”

Rochelle Rowley
Emporia State University

“A well-written text that explores the wide array of issues in violent crime.”

Kristine Levan
University of Idaho

“The textbook is easy to understand, comprehensive, and highlights the current state of violence research.”

Egbert Zavala
University of Texas at El Paso

“A good examination of violence from a generally non-interpersonal focus.”

Carolyn Slotten
Miami University

“I do enjoy this text and have used it multiple times…I would describe it as comprehensive enough to give a good overview of different types of violence but in-depth enough to do most of the justice.”

Monica Merrill
Youngstown State University

“Very good book that is highly accessible and very detailed.”

Gary Maynard
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Key features
  • A new chapter on hate crime provides a deeper and more detailed review of these types of crimes that have increased in recent years.
  • A new chapter devoted to multicide covers serial, mass, and spree murders.
  • New examples and case studies provide timely discussions on current topical issues, including the #MeToo movement and epigenetics.
  • Enhanced discussions of contemporary issues—such as riots, guns, and gun control—better reflect the complexities and new developments in those areas.
  • Updated statistics and graphs provide students the most up-to-date information in the field.


  • In Focus boxes provide personal narratives, case studies, and related information to enhance chapter coverage.
  • Broad coverage addresses legislative, social, and political efforts to curb violent behavior.
  • Both individual and collective forms of violence are examined, and unlike other textbooks on the subject, this book illustrates the linkages between these two general types of violent acts.
  • The interdisciplinary approach draws from several different disciplines, including criminology and criminal justice, sociology, psychology, political science, and public health.
  • A systematized discussion of social policy initiatives are in What Are We Doing About It? sections, making it easier for readers to identify those discussions in each chapter.
  • Each chapter ends with a listing of key terms and ideas, as well as discussion exercises that further guide students in exploring chapter concepts.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2: Why Do We Do It?

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For instructors

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ISBN: 9781544355658