ERIC Number: ED329885
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988
Reference Count: N/A
Violence as a Strategy of the Weak against the Strong: The Case of Siblings.
Feld, Scott L.
This paper considers the case of violence between siblings in the family, and describes findings based on a U.S. national sample that show the relatively frequent use of violence by weaker siblings against more powerful siblings. Analysis and theoretical discussion shows that even though strong actors have greater means for using violence, and weak actors are more likely to suffer from the use of violence than strong actors, the motive and opportunity structure of relatively powerless social actors may encourage their use of violence toward the strong. Weak actors are especially likely to use violence when they have reason to expect that observers will interpret a conflict in their favor. The use of violence by terrorists, social movements, corporations, governments and particular disempowered categories of individuals may be partially understood by the application of these theoretical principles. The empirical evidence presented in this study demonstrates the relative frequency of violence by the weak, but it is insufficient to demonstrate the theoretical principles presented. Further research must measure characteristics of the specific contexts (including attitudes and behaviors of observers) and expectations of the actors to determine the importance of these particular mechanisms. (LLL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: New Hampshire Univ., Durham. Family Research Lab.