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"Understanding Political Violence" introduces political violence in the context of sociological and criminological debates. The author distinguishes between political violence from below, for example collective violence, insurgency, armed struggle and terrorism; and political violence from above, which includes indiscriminate repression, institutional and state violence, torture and war. Vincenzo Ruggiero discusses and critiques the contribution of criminological theory to understanding political violence. He draws on stimulating case studies to illustrate the theory, including interviews with former members of the Red Army Faction in Germany and the Brigate Rosse in Italy. The concluding chapter examines the recent development of a criminology of war and calls for a general ceasefire and the criminalisation of war, the most extreme form of institutional violence. This is essential reading for students and researchers in criminology, political studies, sociology, and war and conflict studies.