chapter  36
11 Pages

Violence and social policy

WithElliott Currie

The most important thing to understand about violence and social policy from the perspective of critical criminology is that social policy matters: the level of violence a society suffers is fundamentally shaped by both past and present social policies. That may seem obvious, but this fundamental insight challenges a variety of perspectives, both within and beyond formal criminology, on the sources of violence and strategies to reduce it. The idea that social policy matters in terms of violence, for example, profoundly undercuts those biological perspectives that insist that violence is simply a reflection of individual genetic differences. The unequal distribution of violence across different social worlds, then, is a fundamental global reality. A number of countries around the world, particularly in Latin America, have also moved toward a more sustaining model of social and economic development designed to include low income people in the fruits of economic growth.