Individuals can be in the same place or be exposed to the same events electronically, or they can use a symbolic means to communicate their experiences to others.It is the combined experiences of many individuals, shared in these ways, that makes up a culture, a society, or a family.Quite different theories may each be useful in different ways, and each may also be valid as it describes a part of the whole experience.Some social theorists have attempted to create "metatheories" that incorporate and reconcile a number of more limited, specific theories.As such accounts are shared, a social group builds a model of common experience in which the personal experience becomes universal and members of the group see each other and their social world in similar ways.It is not only the "victim" who participates in constructing such accounts; the "aggressor" as well relives the experience with others who see the event in similar ways (e.g., Blumenthal-Kahn, 1972; Brown, 1974).In many cases, the account works to justify further or increased violence (Staub, 1990).
As opposed to popular accounts, formal theories are supposed to undergo a rigorous examination to determine their validity (their faithfulness to the data) and their usefulness.
Implications for prevention and intervention are examined.
Key Words: violence, theory, social, constructionism, systems Violence is a social phenomenon.
Scholars are expected to recognize the limitations of their shared experience, rather than to generalize their conclusions to all people and all situations.
Scholars are also expected to be careful and methodical about their ways of gathering and handling information.