How is violence possible?

How does one human being know how to harm another?

Face-to-face, body-to body, side-by-side, scream-to-scream, blow-to-blow?

How do ordinary people become war criminals?

What are the sources of political evil?

And how do we stop them?

The Violence Prevention (VIPRE) Initiative asks difficult questions.

Unlike most approaches to political violence, our work seeks to understand the concrete ‘doing’ of violence. We explore the conditions of possibility that see very ordinary human beings, just like you, the person reading these words, become a source of pain, suffering, and death. Our goal is to understand how bodies – bodies that we feel to be good – can do bad, can see their muscles tense to flick out the motor movements that do harm, can see their emotional response to witnessing another cry out in pain, begging them to stop, offer no resistance, and can commit these acts in symmetry with other bodies across borders, in a choreography of violence that echoes its movements here at home, and over there abroad, wherever that may be. And we seek to prevent that from occurring. We do so by drawing on cutting edge social theory, social science, and methods of scientific inquiry, combined with a deep engagement with leading humanitarian and human rights-focused organisations.

On this site you can find out more about our unique approach to violence prevention, discover and register for our forthcoming events, read our current publications, and much more.