When Push Comes to Shove

A Routine Conflict Approach to Violence

By Leslie W. Kennedy & David R. Forde

Subjects: Criminology
Series: SUNY series in Violence
Paperback : 9780791440346, 212 pages, November 1998
Hardcover : 9780791440339, 212 pages, November 1998

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Table of contents

List of Tables and Figures


1. Violence in Everyday Life

2. Learning Aggression and Violence

3. Elements of Routine Conflict: Social Construction, Coercion, and the Social Event

4. Studying Routine Conflict and Violence

5. Attitudes Toward Violence: Setting Up Routines

6. Experience with Violence: Routine Aspects of Conflict

7. Street Youth and Violence

8. Routine Conflict in Theory and Practice

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D

Appendix E



Subject Index

Author Index

Provides a comprehensive look at violence as rooted in routine conflict in daily social interactions.


When Push Comes to Shove examines the ways in which people define and respond to confrontations and interpersonal dilemmas in their lives. It includes insights from constructionist, interactionist, and criminal event perspectives to present the situational factors that contribute to conflict. The recent revelation that violence is connected with public and private life, and the realization that mainstream society tolerates many forms of violence, leads Kennedy and Forde to explore the circumstances when people use or don't use violent means to solve everyday disputes.

Leslie W. Kennedy is Professor of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University. He is the coauthor of several books (with Vince Sacco), including The Criminal Event and most recently, Crime Victims in Context. David R. Forde is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


"Kennedy and Forde move beyond much traditional research on violence by theoretically incorporating many different elements relating to it, such as routine activities theory and lifestyles theory. They attempt to integrate preceding events, beliefs, and patterns of behavior with the violence. It is a fresh way of examination that avoids some of the pitfalls found in previous work. Another strength is that Kennedy and Forde's analysis focuses on the ways in which individuals define situations and make choices, and thus allows tremendous insight into the role of individual agency in precipitating violence. They integrate a wide body of thought in a new and insightful manner that sheds light on the process. I believe their ideas will gain wide acceptance and use among criminologists who study violent crime" — Alexander Alvarez, Northern Arizona University

"When Push Comes to Shove takes a different approach to the study and analysis of violence—a more enlightening approach than the conventional ones that seek the causes of violence in the aggressive tendencies or pathological traits of the perpetrators. It offers interesting and useful insights into how people deal with, and respond to, conflicts of different types, as well as the situational factors that defuse or intensify the conflict" — Ezzat A. Fattah, Simon Fraser University