Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Keith F. Otterbein
Feuding is a form of violent crime. It is a series of revenge-based killings that result in the loss of human life and contribute to the disruption of the social order. In contrast to the view of feuding as disruptive, however, there are some theories of feuding that treat revenge-based killings as performing a positive social function. Feuding has been described throughout history and in the ethnographic record, and it continues into modern times. A review of definitions of feuding revealed several essential elements (Otterbein 1996: 493): (1) kinship groups are involved, (2) homicides take place, (3) the killings occur as revenge for injustice (the terms duty, honor, righteous , and legitimate appear in discussions of the motivation for the homicides), (4) three or more alternating killings or acts of violence occur, and (5) the acts of violence and killing occur within a political entity, such as a tribe, In ...