Interpersonal Communication in Homicide: The Important of Scripts

James A. Black, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Nicole M. Cravens, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Socialization and learning theories need to be more sensitive to the importance of language, cognition, coercion, and interpersonal communication in explaining various types of multiple offender/victim homicide. Many of the conceptual categories generated for one-on-one homicide incidents (e.g. instrumental/expressive) are ineffective when applied to the distinctive nature of multiple offender/victims incidents. Drawing on one type of multiple offender homicide, murder for hire, we will examine ways to refine the conceptual clarity of script theory as a basis for understanding sequences of interactions in multiple offender contexts. Our presentation focuses on interaction sequences in script tracks, evoking contexts, and action rules and policies affecting participants in multiple offender homicide. Theoretical clarification in these areas will enable us to more sharply delineate the interplay between coercion and persuasion and to approach motives in ways suited to the interactive features of multiple-participant homicide.

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Updated 05/20/2006