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Don Weenink

Associate Professor
Amsterdam University
The social forms of public violence
01 February 2021 -
30 June 2021

Don Weenink earned a PhD in sociology from the University of Amsterdam in 2005. After a postdoctoral research stay at Willem Pompe Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology at the University of Utrecht and a professorship at the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University, he returned to the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam in 2013. Currently, he is principal investigator of the Group Violence research programme (ERC Consolidator Grant). His team studies processes of d/escalation in antagonistic situations in various groups. He works with theoretical insights from micro-sociology, phenomenology, ethno-methodology and practice theories to make sense of various empirical data, such as video footage, ethnographic fieldwork, interviews and sometimes survey or simulation data. His work appeared in a.o. Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, British Journal of Criminology, British Journal of Sociology, European Journal of Criminology, European Journal of Social Theory, Ethnography and, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. In 2016, he published Practice Theory and Research: Exploring the Dynamics of Social Life together with Gert Spaargaren and Machiel Lamers.

His fellowship benefits from the support of the RFIEA+ LABEX, with a national funding (Grant ANR-11-LABX-0027-01). 

Research Interests

Violence, Video analysis, Micro-sociology, Ethnomethodology

The social forms of public violence

The aim of this study is twofold. The first is to understand the social forms of violence in public spaces. This implies that violence is seen as constituted in social interactions in which people react to one another sequentially; that it involves embodied actions in a material environment and that it involves meaning making by violent actors who relate the situation at hand to their biography/identity, to the past and the future. Based on these three dimensions of violence, a conceptual typology of the social forms of violence in public spaces will be elaborated. In a next step, the typology will be used to show the inherent escalatory and de-escalatory tendencies in these social forms. The empirical basis of this work are over 200 interviews with violent actors and video footage of 150 violent incidents in public space. The second aim is to advance the study of mass killings by asking micro level questions about such atrocities. More specifically, the typology of social forms of violence will be applied to attain a micro-translation of three aspects of mass killings: the time dynamics and sequences of collective violence, the embodiment and the material environment of collective violence, and processes of disidentificaton/polarization.

Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region