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The Collaborative Online Research Encyclopaedia is a virtual place where practices of (collective) violence will be documented, analysed, and discussed. It provides resources on the topic and organises peer-reviewed publications.

There is more than one practice theoretical approach, and therefore, there are varying definitions of practices. It is a fluid concept that is still under development. Elizabeth Shove and Mika Panzar offer a pragmatic and concise definition. According to them, “practices exist as sets of norms, conventions, ways of doing, know-how and requisite material arrays” (2007: 155).

Practices exist beyond individual intentionality. They are a knowledge (a competence) to do something purposefully. They vary but have yet a recognizable common core. They are social (i. e., they organise relationships between agents).

Please find more detailed information here.

The field of violence research is vast. It deals with slaps in the face, bullying, violence in the family, violence against animals, but also with pogroms, massacres, and genocides. Accordingly, there can be no universal definition.

Central elements of many definitions of violence comprise notions of intention, harm, acting against the will of the harmed, and knowledge on part of those who harm that they are acting against the will of the harmed. Such definitions exclude forms that could be conceptualised as violence, such as martial arts or structural violence.

The encyclopaedia’s focus is on collective violence – part of which are violent events, actions, relationships ascribed to groups. People hurt and are hurt because they belong to a group or are perceived as to belong to a group. These attributions and self-attributions are not the only reasons for the performance or experience of violence. Further they need not be relevant to all participating agents. The rather make it possible to conceptualise them as justifiable and justified actions.

Please find more detailed information here.

We do not have an exhaustive list of violent practices and leave it to the authors to determine what they understand to be violent practices based on the definitions of practice and violence.

Examples of such practices are torture, terror, battles, and slavery.

But also places where practices are combined for the purpose of control and coercion, such as camps or slave ships should be studied in the context of this encyclopaedia.

Please find more detailed information here.

In many publications, the terms practice and praxis are used synonymously. Yet there are also differentiations, for example, when the form or pattern practice is set against the performance praxis (Alkemeyer et al. 2015: 27). Although only some authors make this differentiation, we consider it so helpful that we propose to distinguish between the performative and the formative aspect of the production of practices.

Here, too, there are different views, especially as the line is difficult to draw. Practices are genuinely social in the sense that they regulate social relationships (e.g., marriage, sports, torture). Techniques are more small-scale and not necessarily social. Examples are the control of a ball in sport, or the use of torture-instrument. As mentioned, the boundaries are fluid.

The aim is to jointly explore the potential of practical theoretical approaches to violence research in a systematic, historical, regional, and comparative manner.

If you’re interested in participating you may consider:

  • to write a case study (or in case you have students, to ask them to do so)
  • to write a comparative paper (or in case you have students, to ask them to do so)
  • organise a local workshop with us

We will provide resources within and beyond the confines of this platform.

We are happy to provide further information please write an email to or use the contact form.