The analysis of violence is an important part of sociology. While it has sometimes been pushed to the margins of sociology, nevertheless, violence emerges repeatedly in the analysis of both everyday life and momentous social change; interpersonal relations and crime; governance and resistance; relations between states, north and south; and multiple varieties of modernity. New ways of making violence visible unsettle old notions of the nature and direction of violence; challenging assumptions that the disadvantaged are more violent than the powerful; and that modernity is increasingly less violent. The new research on violence against women and minorities and in the global South makes a powerful case for the inclusion of violence as a core issue in sociology. This article introduces the articles in this monograph issue of Current Sociology, situating them in a new paradigm of ‘violence and society’. The articles identify the specificities of violence, its non-reducibility to state, culture and biology, while outlining the interconnections within this emerging field.