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Bouncers and Barroom Aggression: A Review of the Research

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal Volume: 14 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2009 Pages: 59-68
James C. Roberts
Date Published
January 2009
10 pages
This study examined bouncers and barroom aggression.
Research on the role of bouncers in barrooms reveals an occupational culture that celebrates violence. Results found that bouncers, vilified in much of the available research on barroom aggression, occupy a unique position within licensed drinking establishments. Despite being the most obvious and arguably the most capable guardians within barrooms, all too often researchers blame them for provoking and escalating aggressive episodes in bars rather than functioning in a capacity that controls or prevents such incidents. In addition to being overly aggressive, researchers implicating bouncers in incidents of barroom aggression describe them as unfriendly, unreasonable, indifferent, and outright unprofessional. Unique aspects of a bouncer’s work experience are that they must give consistent attention to maintaining and protecting one’s honor, displaying physical strength and fighting skills through techniques of the body, avoiding legal trouble through techniques of evasion, and handling problems in-house. Bouncers handling of problems within barrooms are often problematic as researchers contend that even those with good intentions are likely to become offenders when intervening in aggressive incidents, likely a result of inadequate training. Attempts to address problem bouncers include programs that cast wide nets at multiple situational variables shown to predict aggression in bars, as well as regulation and training schemes specifically targeting security personnel. References