Culture of Honor: The Psychology of Violence in the South / Edition 1

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Overview


In the United States, the homicide rate in the South is consistently higher than the rate in the North. In this brilliantly argued book, Richard Nisbett and Dov Cohen use this fact as a starting point for an exploration of the underlying reasons for violence.

According to Nisbett and Cohen, the increased tendency of white southerners to commit certain kinds of violence is not due to socioeconomic class, population density, the legacy of slavery, or the heat of the South; it is the result of a culture of honor in which a man’s reputation is central to his economic survival. Working from historical, survey, social policy, and experimental data, the authors show that in the South it is more acceptable to be violent in response to an insult, in order to protect home and property, and to aid in socializing children. These values are reflected not only in what southerners say, but also in the institutional practices of the South, the actions of Southerners, and their physiological responses to perceived affronts.

In this lively and intriguing account, the authors combine bold theory and careful methodology to reveal a set of central beliefs that can contribute to increased violence. More broadly, they show us the interaction between culture, economics, and individual behavior. This engaging study will be of interest to students, educated lay readers, and scholars.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Psychologists trace the higher rate of homicide by southern whites to cultural heritages of the original settlers rather than to poverty, the legacy of slavery, or the high temperature. Among the English cavaliers who initially settled the area, they say, and also among the Scotch-Irish who arrived a century later, a man's reputation was the key to his economic survival. That has imbedded in the culture such a hypersensitivity to insult that arguments often lead to murder. If purely geographical factors were at work, they point out, then the murder rate for blacks would be higher in the south as well. Paper edition (unseen), $12.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813319933
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Series: New Directions in Social Psychology Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 104
  • Sales rank: 708,017
  • Lexile: 1480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author


Richard E. Nisbett is Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and codirector of the Culture and Cognition Program at the University of Michigan.
Dov Cohen is assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Richard E. Nisbett is Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and codirector of the Culture and Cognition Program at the University of Michigan.
Dov Cohen is assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Violence and Honor in the Southern United States 1
2 Homicide Rate Differences Between North and South 13
3 Differences Between Northerners and Southerners in Attitudes Toward Violence 25
4 Insult, Anger, and Aggression: An "Experimental Ethnography" of the Culture of Honor 41
5 Collective Expressions of the Culture of Honor: Violence, Social Policy, and the Law 55
6 Culture of Honor: Manifestations, Explanations, and Destinations 79
Appendixes 95
References 103
About the Book and Authors 113
Index 117
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