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Family, Intimacy, and Homicide: A Macro-Social Approach

NCJ Number
Violence and Victims Volume: 5 Issue: 3 Dated: (Fall 1990) Pages: 195-210
Date Published
16 pages
This study examines convergences and differences in results from macrosocial and microsocial approaches to identifying the causes of marital violence.
A macrosocial approach analyzes homicide rates for cities, metropolitan areas, and States. A microsocial approach, which has focused largely on family violence, relies on survey self-reports of assaultive violence. This study considers convergences and differences in these approaches by using the techniques developed in the macrosocial tradition together with hypotheses drawn from both traditions. Data on four specific types of homicide from a sample of 299 central cities are examined in a series of parallel models that include indicators of violence causes derived from both traditions. Results suggest that the macrosocial approach is more relevant than the microsocial method, as all of the significant indicators are derived from the macrosocial tradition. Results also indicate that family and sexual intimacy are apparently independent dimensions in homicide causes. The study advises that macro-level research on homicide, traditionally formed in terms of two competing theoretical models (deprivation versus subculture of violence) should be reformulated to include a third perspective, i.e., routine activity. The study concludes as well that the attempt to forge a link between micro-level and macro-level theoretical and empirical traditions has potential. Such attempts should be extended beyond homicide research in particular to social science research in general. 5 tables, 5 notes, and 59 references

Date Published: January 1, 1990