JAMES GILLIGAN is the author of Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic and Preventing Violence: Prospects for Tomorrow, among many other books. Much of his life work has consisted of researching the various biological, psychological, and social phenomena that increase rates of violence - including the prevalence and availability of guns - and that decrease rates of violence - such as limiting the prevalence, lethality, and availability of guns.
Dr. Gilligan has concluded that violence is always a desperate and risky attempt to gain respect, attention, and recognition for oneself or for the group with which one identifies. This theory is able to explain a whole range of violent behaviors, from individual (homicide and suicide) to collective (war, terrorism, and genocide) and enables doctors to devise and test practical methods to prevent violence. Through his work among the most violent people our society produces - in prisons and in prison mental hospitals - he has become one of the leading exponents of shifting our emphasis from punishing violence after it occurs to preventing it before it happens.
He has appeared in several Emmy-nominated documentary films for television and has appeared on Peter Jennings' newscast and Ted Koppel's Nightline as well as a CBS Town Meeting on the juvenile justice system hosted by Dan Rather. He has discussed his books on NPR's Fresh Air, The Connection, and numerous other radio and television programs throughout the US, Canada, England, and other countries.
Dr. Gilligan is on the faculty of New York University where he is clinical professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine, adjunct professor in the School of Law, and collegiate professor in the School of Arts and Science. For the Department of Psychiatry, he serves as a consultant and supervisor on the evaluation and treatment of the violent mentally ill.