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Fascination with violence: what role do emotions play?

Do emotions trigger violence? Does violence produce certain emotions? Do emotions even have the power to stop violence? From 26 to 28 June 2013 around 20 international specialists will discuss the relationship between emotions and violence at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

The twentieth century was marked by severe violence. This violent era has been researched and published widely but the impact of emotions in this development remains largely unclear. What constitutes the fascination with violence? When does anger and shame turn into violence, what makes violence joyful, and which feelings are able to break through the circle of escalating?

The interdisciplinary conference Emotions & Violence in Twentieth Century Europe. Historical Perspectives on Violence Prevention and Peace Education aims to approach this relationship from a historical perspective. It investigates how feelings that cause or accompany violence are socially and culturally shaped and altered over time.

The perspectives of perpetrators, victims and spectators are equally considered and so is the role of the media in the emergence of violence. "Anyone who wants to understand violence must understand the underlying feelings. We expect that results of historical research on emotion are relevant to current research approaches on violence prevention and peace research, "says Dagmar Ellerbrock, head of the Minerva research focus on violence and emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

International experts participating in the conference include keynote speakers Professor Susanne Karstedt (Univ. Ledds / Cambridge), Prof. Roger Petersen (MIT / Cambridge) and Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheff (Univ. of California, Santa Barbara).

The conference is organized by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in collaboration with the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt and the University of Bielefeld. It is sponsored by the Minerva Research Project "Violence & Emotion" and the German Foundation for Peace Research.

Nicole Siller | Max-Planck-Institut
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