by Laurent Mucchielli – september 2008


Laurent Mucchielli, a sociologist and researcher at the CNRS and director of the CESDIP, works currently on personal violence. He has recently published : Une société plus violente ? Analyse socio-historique des violences interpersonnelles en France, des années 1970 à nos jours, Déviance et Société, 2008, 2, 115-146 [1].

Since several decades, historians have viewed trends in homicide rates as one of the rare reliable indicators of the evolution of interpersonal violence across Europe. Moreover, they have evidenced a historical decline of physical violence since the end of the Middle Ages [2]. But what about today ? Whereas the idea that « violence is back » has become a commonplace, the number of homicides perpetrated annually in France has actually been declining since the mid-1980s. To ground this assertion, meticulous analysis of three different types of available statistical sources is required.

[1] On line :….
[2] MUCHEMBLED R., 2008, Une histoire de la violence, de la fin du Moyen Âge à nos jours, Paris, Seuil ; SPIERENBURG P.C., 2008, A History of Murder. Personal Violence in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present, Cambridge, Polity Press.


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