There is a long-standing debate in the social science of violence concerning the definition of its research-object. There are those who hold that violence is an ‘essentially contested concept’, and who feel that a definition of violence is unattainable, or even undesirable. One proponent of this idea is Zygmunt Bauman, who has commented on the attempt to (not) define violence that:

Virtually all writers attempting to come to grips with the phenomenon of violence find the concept either under-, or over-defined, or both. They also report in other writers (if they not display it themselves) an amazing reluctance, or ineptitude, to resolve the confusion and put things straight. Above all, they find in the texts they read plenty of understatements and half-truths, a lot of embarrassed silence, and other signs of shamefacedness.1