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Libraries gave us peace… November 5, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting piece on Australian radio recently about murder. A range of commentators were asked to contribute. Anyhow, mention was made of Manuel Eisner, Professor of Comparative and Developmental Criminology at Cambridge Institute of Criminology whose research suggests that:

…violence and homicide are declining in Europe. His research has highlighted the ways in which cultural models of conduct of life, embedded in social institutions, have shaped patterns of daily behaviour among adolescent and young adult men, which in turn influenced the likelihood of frictions leading to aggressive behaviour.[

Those social institutions include libraries, no less. The argument being that – at its most simplistic, by reading about others this assisted in some fashion by increasing empathy.

But there’s more. In this piece from the FT the more recent decline is posited to be a function of technology. Possibly. No one is sure.

“We still barely understand why homicide rates have declined consistently across the western world over the past 20 years,” admits Manuel Eisner, criminologist at Cambridge university. The rise of screens may have helped: nowadays many violence-prone young males spend their days on WhatsApp or PlayStation. But Eisner and other thinkers suggest another fascinating explanation: starting in the early 1990s, western countries entered an age of restraint. Our generation has chosen safety over freedom. This explanation sounds impossibly grand, yet it’s plausible.

Possibly. Hard to know. The library aspect I find genuinely fascinating. What do others think?


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