A damning examination of how violence serves to maintain social order and elite power in the UnitedThe Violent Underpinnings of American Life
boldly asserts that violence--far from going against American ideals--is as American as apple pie, central to the country's social order and the dominance of its most powerful groups. Drawing from extensive research and analysis of key social, political, and cultural events, Liam Downey investigates the myriad ways violence maintains the American way of life. Through compelling case studies, Downey identifies four main ways in which violence produces and maintains the American social hierarchy: the creation of divisions among non-elite social groups; the reinforcement of dominant discourses in multiple social arenas; the aligning of marginalized group identities with dominant institutional practices; and the selective promotion of the interests of specific, non-elite groups.
This is the first book to argue that violence is both a negative, coercive power and a positive, productive one that helps produce not only social order but also consent, discipline, discourse, identity, subjectivity, and embodied knowledge, among other things. The Violent Underpinnings of American Life
is an audacious work that argues violence is absolutely central to social life in America, and that Americans cannot effectively fight against the inequalities that surround them without accepting this reality.
Liam Downey is Associate Professor of Sociology and Faculty Associate for Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the author of Inequality, Democracy and the Environment, Winner of the 2016 American Sociological Association's Section on Environment and Technology Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award.