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Forms vs. Types: A Theory of Cultural Conflict and Community Violence

Published onApr 24, 2024
Forms vs. Types: A Theory of Cultural Conflict and Community Violence


In this report, I apply Georg Simmel’s (1950) forms and content to crime in contrast with Émile Durkheim’s facts and types of crime to compare cultural offenses – i.e., cultural crimes, such as desecrations of Native American Indian cultural values, violations of Title 25 – Indians of the United States Code and abuses of tribal law - to understand conflict between two distinct ethnic and cultural groups: Indians and non-Indians.  Using data gathered during the Southern Ute Indian Community Safety Survey, a U.S.D.O.J.-sponsored study of crime and violence to understand cultural crimes in comparison with economic, violent, public order, and liminal crimes.  I demonstrate conflict between the two cultural groups occurs when the actions and behaviors of members of the non-Indian group are contrary to the values of the Indian group.  Findings from this study demonstrate the relevance of data collection efforts from small, rural distinctive communities may have implications for understanding and responding to community-level violence in urban areas, as well as to a global context when viewed through the lens of conflicts that result in wars, terrorism, and other forms of community-level violence.  Findings from this study may lead to better violence prevention efforts.

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