The Social Dynamics of Family Violence

Angela Hattery and Earl Smith

Second Edition • July 12, 2016 • 476 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813349992 • $59.00 USD$76.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813350431 • $36.99 USD$36.99 CAN

Courses: , ,

More by these authors: ,

Order an Exam or Desk Copy

Click here to read a sample from the new edition.

Instructor Resources

Resource Web Page:

  • A Test Bank, PowerPoint Slides, and Transition Guide are available for professors who adopt The Social Dynamics of Family Violence, 2nd Edition for their courses.
  • Additional resources include Class Projects, Discussion Questions, Further Resources, and Sample Syllabi.

This compelling text explores family violence throughout the life course, from child abuse and neglect to intimate partner violence and elder abuse. Paying special attention to the social character and institutional causes of family violence, Hattery and Smith ask students to consider how social inequality, especially gender inequality, contributes to tensions and explosive tendencies in family settings. Students learn about individual preventative measures and are also invited to question the justice of our current social structure, with implications for social policy and reorganization.

The second edition contains a new chapter focusing on institutionalized violence, which features an examination of sports, the military, and sexual abuse cases occurring on college campuses. Hattery and Smith also examine violence against women globally and relate this to violence in the United States. Unique coverage of same-sex and multicultural couples, as well as of theory and methods, make this text an essential element of any course considering the sociology of family violence.

Angela Hattery is professor and director of Women and Gender Studies at George Mason University. She is the author of numerous books including Gender, Power and Violence (2016), African American Families: Myths and Realities (2014), Prisoner Re-entry and Social Capital: the long road to reintegration (2010), African American Families (2007); Globalization & America: race, human rights and inequality (2008); Intimate Partner Violence (2008); and Women, Work, and Family (2001).

Earl Smith is Emeritus Rubin Distinguished Professor & Director of American Ethnic Studies and professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University. He is the author of numerous books including Race, Sport and the American Dream (2014) and African American Families: Myths and Realities (2014).

Preface to the Second Edition

Social Dynamics of Family Violence: Setting the Stage

Historical Perspectives on Family Violence

Theories for Studying Family Violence

Methods for Studying Family Violence

Abuse Across the Life Course: Elder Abuse

Abuse Across the Life Course: Child Abuse

Outcomes of Child Abuse: Increased Risk for Experiencing Violence in Adulthood

The Economy and Intimate Partner Violence

Cultural Factors and Intimate Partner Violence

Religion and Family Violence

Institutionalized Violence

Violence in LGBTQ Families

Prevention and Avoidance: The Early Warning Signs

The Response to Family Violence: The Criminal Justice System and the Social Welfare System

Where Do We Go from Here?


Praise for the Previous Edition
The Social Dynamics of Family Violence is a unique contribution to the family literature. The book provides a systematic examination of all forms of family violence (from intimate partner violence to child abuse to elder abuse to violence in gay and lesbian families) and does so in sociological fashion—social conditions and institutions (e.g., poverty, racism, and patriarchy), rather than individual-level factors, are highlighted as the driving forces. I highly recommend this book for adoption in undergraduate and graduate courses in sociology, social work, family studies, and in other related fields.” —Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Duke University

“Angie Hattery and Earl Smith have turned their decades of experience researching, teaching, and writing about violence in families into a comprehensive, accessible book. Their wise choices and thorough presentations of intersectional, life course, and institutional frameworks central to sociological approaches make this a text suitable for introductory courses in sociology, family studies, and gender/race/class analysis, and specialized courses in criminology, violence, and social policies. This book goes far beyond most available treatments of violence in families. This book finally convinces me that it’s not only possible but worthwhile to use a textbook to teach smart, curious undergraduates about sociology, families, and violence between people who ‘love’ and depend on one another.” —Lisa D. Brush, University of Pittsburgh

“I appreciated how the book was well organized which enhanced my learning and understanding of such a difficult topic as a whole. The chosen topics in the book built my understanding and interests one issue after another. Hattery and Smith’s wealth of knowledge and research was organized in a fairly conducive way that enhanced my knowledge of the different types of abuse (e.g., child abuse, elder abuse, intimate partner violence). They not only increased my knowledge but offered great hopes and wisdoms to tackle such an important issue that effects families from all backgrounds across the nation.” —Nancy Xiong, Student

“As a student who had no prior knowledge about family violence, I found the book highly accessible. Not only were concepts thoroughly explained, but the real life examples really put it into context for me. It was definitely one of the most relevant books I have read in a while!” —Joyous Tharrington, Student

The Social Dynamics of Family Violence is a disturbingly good book. The material is difficult to deal with, but the authors present the well-researched and unbiased facts in a way that makes it easy to understand and relate to. In reading the book, I learned how pervasive the issues of family violence are in American society and, consequently, how important this topic is. It helps to facilitate difficult discussions about what family violence is, some of the factors that cause the violence, and ways to end the violence. Most importantly, the book empowered me to feel like there was something that I could do about the issue and provided ways to get involved. Even though the topic was gut-wrenching, I looked forward to reading the book!” —Leslie Temple, Student

If you are a professor or course instructor, please use the following form to give us feedback on The Social Dynamics of Family Violence: