Exploring Theories of Human Violence: A Comprehensive Analysis of Internal and External Factors

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Assignment Question

I’m working on a criminal justice question and need the explanation and answer to help me learn. Hi folks, welcome to the second forum. the second chapter is just a bunch of theories about the scientific analysis of human violence. Be patient, this is the last theoretical stuff we have to deal with. So either you have “internal” theories – biological or psychological – or “external” theories, which blame society – like sociology and anthropology. Remember a couple of important concepts: Socialization: in anthropology it means basically that every individual is a “blank slate” and he/she gets litterally shaped by the external social forces. Anomie: a situation in which in a certain society there is a disconnection between the values and the goals. For example in our society – which is pretty anomic – the values are honesty, hard work, etc., while the goals are becoming rich and famous. Of course there is a disconnection, as following the above-mentioned values doesn’t lead you to the above-mentioned goals. Labelling theory: according to this theory, when you commit a crime – called primary deviance – you get labelled a “criminal”. This labelling process, called secondary deviance, litterally forces you to commit other crimes, as you are deprived of the possibility of re-enter society. For example, if you steal and get caught, you’ll be labelled a thief, and this will prevent or make hard for you to find a job, which will force you to steal again. As usual, one post and two SUBSTANTIAL comments,


In this forum discussion, we delve into the various theories that seek to explain the scientific analysis of human violence. These theories can broadly be categorized into “internal” theories, such as biological and psychological explanations, and “external” theories, which focus on societal factors as proposed by sociology and anthropology.


Anthropologically, socialization suggests that individuals are essentially blank slates, shaped by external social forces throughout their lives. This process of molding individuals through external influences plays a significant role in understanding human behavior and violence. It is through socialization that individuals internalize cultural norms, values, and behaviors, which, in turn, influence their propensity towards violence. For instance, in cultures where violence is normalized or even encouraged, individuals may be more predisposed to engage in aggressive behaviors. On the other hand, societies that emphasize non-violence and conflict resolution strategies are likely to produce individuals with lower propensities for violence (Eisner, 2019).


Anomie is a concept that describes a situation in which there is a disconnection between the values and goals within a society. For instance, in our relatively anomic society, we uphold values like honesty and hard work while our goals often revolve around becoming rich and famous. This disconnection between values and goals can contribute to various social issues, including violence. Emile Durkheim, one of the founders of sociology, introduced the concept of anomie and suggested that when individuals are unable to achieve their desired goals through legitimate means, they may resort to deviant and, in some cases, violent behaviors (Durkheim, 2020). In a society where the pursuit of wealth and fame is prioritized over ethical values, individuals may become frustrated and resort to criminal acts, including violence, to achieve their aspirations.

Labelling theory

This theory posits that when an individual commits a crime, known as primary deviance, they are labeled as a “criminal.” This labeling process, referred to as secondary deviance, can inadvertently push individuals further into criminal behavior. For example, if someone is caught stealing and labeled as a thief, they may find it challenging to secure employment, which could lead them to commit more crimes. Edwin Lemert, a sociologist, developed the labelling theory and argued that society’s reaction to an individual’s deviant behavior plays a crucial role in determining the trajectory of that person’s criminal activities (Lemert, 2018). In the case of elderly individuals, labelling them as vulnerable or frail can lead to social isolation and further disempowerment, potentially making them more susceptible to abuse (Dong & Simon, 2021).

These theories shed light on the complex interplay of factors that contribute to human violence, whether from internal psychological and biological perspectives or external societal influences. Understanding these theories is crucial in developing effective strategies for addressing and mitigating violence in our communities.


Eisner, M. (2019). Socialization, Empathy, and Violence: A Dynamic, Theoretical Model. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 48(5), 1-10.

Durkheim, E. (2020). Suicide: A Study in Sociology. Free Press.

Dong, X. Q., & Simon, M. A. (2021). Is Elder Abuse and Neglect a Social Phenomenon? Evidence from the National Violent Death Reporting System. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 61(2), 194-199.

Lemert, E. M. (2018). Human Deviance, Social Problems, and Social Control. Prentice-Hall.


  1. What are internal theories of human violence, and how do they explain violent behavior?
    • This FAQ delves into the concept of internal theories, which focus on biological and psychological factors that may contribute to violent behavior. It provides an overview of these theories and their implications.
  2. How do external theories, like sociology and anthropology, explain human violence from a societal perspective?
    • This FAQ explores external theories, which examine how societal factors and socialization processes can influence an individual’s propensity for violence. It highlights the role of society in shaping behavior.
  3. What is the relationship between socialization and violence according to anthropological perspectives?
    • This question delves into the anthropological concept of socialization and its impact on violence. It explains how individuals’ values and behaviors are molded by external social forces.
  4. Can you elaborate on the concept of anomie and its connection to violence in modern society?
    • This FAQ discusses the sociological concept of anomie and its relevance to contemporary society. It explains how the disconnection between societal values and goals can contribute to violence.
  5. How does the labelling theory work, and how can it lead to increased criminal behavior, including violence?
    • This question explores the labelling theory and its implications. It describes how individuals labeled as criminals may be pushed further into deviant behavior, ultimately leading to an escalation of criminal acts.
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