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Three Salford academics discuss violence in society for ESRC Festival of Social Science

Nov 10, 2017

L-R Dr Clare Allely, Mr Jon Shute, Dr Anthony Ellis & Dr Muzammil Quraishi
L-R Dr Clare Allely, Mr Jon Shute, Dr Anthony Ellis & Dr Muzammil Quraishi

Last week, as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, three Salford academics hosted a debate to discuss how we can respond to violence as a society. Jon Shute, an expert in mass violence and the links between psychology and violent behaviour, from the University of Manchester opened the proceedings and invited Salford’s Dr Muzammil Quraishi, Dr Clare Allely and Dr Anthony Ellis to take to the floor and talk about their research.

Muzammil discussed the effect environment and upbringing has on our predisposition to violence and how unique factors in the human brain have a part to play.

Clare turned the discussion to mass shooting sprees, and in particular what factors motivate people to commit these atrocities. She went on to share her recent research that examines the links between autism and violent crimes, which suggests that on the rare occasions individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders commit violence these crimes can be very severe.

Antony, who organised the event, talked about whether growing inequality and economic uncertainty around the world means we are heading towards a more violent future. He shared Harvard University Professor Steven Pinker’s theory that “we are living in the least violent time in history” and reflected if this opinion is echoed in society. “With all the fresh stories about murder, gang wars and terrorism in the news, the world does feel like a dangerous place, whether that is perception or not,” Antony said.

The presentations were followed by debate and discussion involving the audience.

The 'How can we respond to violence' debate was part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science (4-11 November). Click here to read more. 

ESRC Festival: How can we respond to violence?