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Homicide in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland$
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Richard Mc Mahon

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781846319471

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846319471.001.0001

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‘Sending them to heaven’: Homicide and the family

‘Sending them to heaven’: Homicide and the family

(p.59) 3 ‘Sending them to heaven’: Homicide and the family
Homicide in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland

Richard Mc Mahon

Liverpool University Press

The role of the family in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland, let alone the role of violence within it, has received little attention. This chapter fills a major gap in the historiography by exploring the role of lethal violence within the family. It demonstrates how the use of violence within the family, although often severe, was clearly controlled and limited and how such violence reflects a continuity of behaviour within the family which persists to the present day. Such continuities are evident not only in the rates of family homicide but also in the contexts in which such cases emerge. The chapter also explores whether insights derived from evolutionary theory can shed light on the continuities in violent behaviour both inside and outside the family.

Keywords:   family, violence, spousal abuse, parricide, fratricide, filicide, evolutionary psychology, biology, deep history

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