Cascades of violence and a global criminology of place

John Braithwaite*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    This research is about the insight that some of the same dynamics may cause war and crime. Because this is not well understood, national peace agreements sometimes fail to resolve root causes; violent death is sometimes higher after the peace than during the war. The second ambition is a macrosociological imagination that opens a new way of seeing global patterns of crime-war. A third explores what to do about it. Five starting hypotheses toward a theory of crime-war are advanced:Violence cascades whenThose displaced by violence displace others from spaces to which refugees flee.Refugee camps become recruiting centres for those who cause violence to cascade.Hot spots destabilized by successive waves of violence become anomic Hobbesian vacuums that attract violent tyrannies.Violent crime is highly concentrated at hot spots; twenty-first century warfare is concentrated at local hot spots.Peace is accomplished hot spot by hot spot more than nation by nation. Political settlements and a politics of reconciliation are needed to resolve contemporary violence that are less national, more oriented to a local politics of place.One control policy is a responsive enforcement pyramid that gives violent groups in control of hot spots an opportunity to negotiate a truce at the base of the pyramid. When they do, reintegration of perpetrators and shaming of their crimes can occur. When the opportunity to renounce violence is spurned, firm resolve to escalate to arrest backed by military capability in the case of armed resistance to arrest is necessary. Where this resolve is absent, violent hot spots proliferate.Negotiations that persuade violent groups to relinquish control of local hot spots of criminal opportunity under threat of prosecution will prevent violence more permanently when accompanied by reconciliation that is followed by reintegration into legitimate opportunity structures.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)299-315
    Number of pages17
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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