Execution by Family : A Theory of Honor Violence book cover
1st Edition

Execution by Family
A Theory of Honor Violence

ISBN 9780367671440
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
236 Pages

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Book Description

Across many parts of the world, violence inflicted in the name of family honor is attracting an increasing amount of attention. Family honor violence, otherwise known as honor-based violence, is physical force inflicted primarily on women for conduct defined as dishonorable. This book explores these conflicts of honor, how they are triggered, how they are handled, and why some lead to death. 

Drawing on a range of case studies and employing Donald Black’s concept of social geometry, Execution by Family incorporates and goes beyond patriarchy, culture, and kinship to develop a unified theory of family honor violence. It discusses the "honor belt," a series of countries stretching from north Africa to southeast Asia, in which similar forms of inequality, patriarchy, group authority, and gerontocracy are prevalent and how, within the confines of this inequality, honor violence flourishes. Reviewing survey data and pointing to a multi-pronged, cross-national social movement, the book also discusses the future of honor-based violence.

Given the growing awareness of family honor violence, Execution by Family will be of interest to anybody concerned with family conflict, violence, crime, and popular morality. It will be invaluable reading for academics and students in the fields of criminology, criminal justice, sociology, social psychology, and anthropology.

Table of Contents

Part I: Description

1. Introduction

2. The Logic of Family Honor

3. Theories of Family Honor

4. The Patriarchal Family

Part II: Explanation

5. Family Punishment

6. Community Punishment

7. The Crime of Dishonor

8. A Theory of Family Honor Violence

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Mark Cooney is Professor of Sociology at the University of Georgia, USA. A specialist in the study of moral conflict, he has authored numerous articles on the subject as well as two previous books, Warriors and Peacemakers: How Third Parties Shape Violence (1998) and Is Killing Wrong? A Study in Pure Sociology (2009).


"I enjoyed reading Execution by Family: A Theory of Honor Violence. Cooney’s discussion of the different social conditions in which family honor takes place and when women are more (or less) at risk of family violence was illuminating. His discussion of women’s relationships, closeness, social distance and social time brought home the challenges many women face. All too often, women do not command the influence of other important figures in the family in order to secure their safety because they are socially inferior and experience inequalities – their ‘transgressions’ are then considered too ‘dishonorable’ and very few are able to defend them. Overall, this is a very useful book for anybody who is interested in the study of family honor violence".

Dr. Mohammad Mazher Idriss, Lecturer in Law, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK