Virtuous Violence: Moral Motivations for Harm and Homicide

Alan Fiske
Alan Fiske
  • Speaker
UCLA College of Letters and Science, University of California Los Angeles

Event Information

Research Seminar
Organisational Behaviour & HRM
Thu. 10 Oct. 2013
Dicea Jansen
10:30-12:00 hours
Mandeville Building T08-67


Most violence is morally motivated. Hurting and killing are often aversive and traumatic for the perpetrators, but people sometimes feel morally compelled to be violent in order to create, sustain, redress, or terminate vital social relationships. Obligations to violence may be generated by the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, or relationships between the perpetrators and third parties. In diverse cultures and historical periods people have been, and continue to be, morally motivated to homicide, suicide, rape, robbery, torture, warfare, aggressive sports, initiation, corporal punishment and execution, religious mortification and asceticism, and human sacrifice. People usually constitute relationships non-violently. But people are prone to violence when crucial relationships are at stake, and it is essential to raise the stakes. Violence is a spectacularly impressive display of the perpetrator's commitment to the relationship -- a display that uniquely evokes others' commitment to it.

Steffen Giessner
Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Change
  • Coordinator