Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Total Violence: Theory and Pilot Experiments
(London School of Economics)
Friday, May 23, 2014
14:00 FASS 2034
Abstract: An attempt is made to address the following question: What could possibly be meant by expressions such as ‘the level of violence has increased/decreased’; ‘intervention in Syria would increase/decrease the level of violence’ and ‘violent crime is falling/increasing’. Such claims are frequently made in both the media and scholarly work, and there is much measurement of the level of violence by the World Health Organisation, Centre for Disease Control, Global Peace Index and many others in regard to varied sorts of violence including crime, armed conflict, domestic, gender and gang violence. After noting the main shortcomings in the literature, this paper offers a detailed analysis of one particular way to conceptualise and measure total, or aggregate, violence. This way is a weighted sum. The weights are not postulated or given, rather they are endogenously obtained from a class of rankings of outbreaks of violent acts. The relation to comparative statics in the game theoretic analysis of violence is made clear. Finally, some results of pilot experiments are offered. The exposition is non technical and there are no formal prerequisites.
P.S.: The seminar will be held in English.