Understanding the Causes of Violence
Although violence sometimes seems to appear "out of nowhere," it is most often the result of a long-standing, unresolved grievance or intractable conflict. Some factors, such as attacks on an individual or group's identity or security, feelings of longstanding injustice, disrespect or humiliation, or the inability to obtain fundamental needs are particularly common instigators of violent conflict. The following articles elaborate on these causes and help practitioners identify what is driving a particular violent (or potentially violent) situation. Such an understanding is essential if one is to be able to prevent or stop the violence.
- Underlying Causes of Intractable Conflict
- Case studies of particular conflicts which illustrate these violence-inducing factors include:
- Once one understands the common causes of violence, it is possible to examine a particular situation to assess whether or not those causes are present, and therefore, whether violence is likely to occur. This step is generally referred to as conflict assessment or early warning.