Technology and conflict: Group processes and collective violence in the Internet era

Richard K. Moule, Scott Decker, David C. Pyrooz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The origins and escalation of group violence are central to the criminological enterprise. Explanations of collective violence were developed when face-to-face interactions constituted the primary form of social exchange. The Internet and related technologies provide new formats for social interaction and collective behaviors and have become increasingly salient for both of these topics. Technology alters the communication capacities of individuals and groups through the dissemination of rumor and gossip and is closely tied to inter- and intra-group relations. We illustrate the evolving landscape of group process and collective violence by focusing on street gangs and the nascent literature on gangs’ use of the Internet. Next, we provide an expanded model of the cycle of gang violence, one that emphasizes the correlates and contingencies of the diffusion and escalation of conflict and more explicitly recognizes the growing importance of technology for violence. Using data from street offenders and gang members in five US cities, we provide an initial empirical assessment of core theoretical propositions in the model. We conclude by discussing the implications for future research on the relationship between technology and violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
StateAccepted/In press - Dec 13 2016


  • Diffusion of conflict
  • Gangs
  • Group processes
  • Internet
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law


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