Article: Violence

Violence refers to acts of aggression and abuse which causes or intends to cause criminal injury or harm to persons, and (to a lesser extent) animals and property.1 The term "violence" also connotes an aggressive tendency to act out destructive behaviours. Violence falls into essentially two forms —random violence, which includes unpremeditated or small-scale violence, and coordinated violence, which includes actions carried out by sanctioned or unsanctioned violent groups —as in war (ie. inter-societal violence) and terrorism. Since the Industrial Revolution, the lethality of modern warfare has steadily grown to levels considered universally dangerous. As a practical matter, warfare on a massive scale is considered to be a direct threat to the prosperity and survival of individuals, cultures, societies, and the world's living populations.

In specific regard to warfare, journalism, because of its increasing capability, has served to make matters of violence which were once in the domain of the military into moral matters within the domain of the society at large. Transculturation, due to modern technology, has served to diminish the moral relativism typically associated with nationalism, and in this general context an international "nonviolence" movement has gained in social promience.

Law

One of the main functions of law is to regulate violence (indeed, the sociologist Max Weber famously stated that the state is a monopoly on violence).

Certain forms and degrees of violence are socially and/or legally sanctioned, and some result from legal action, while others constitute crimes within a specific society. Different societies apply different standards relating to sanctioned and non-sanctioned forms of violence. Degrees of violence that are accepted by a society's norms are commonly regarded as cruel, and may be termed extra-normal violence. Violence used in terrorism is often normal in terms of degree.

Violence can be unilateral, while fighting implies a reaction, at least a defensive one.

Here are some forms/conceptions of violence condemned/conceived by various legal entities :

  • Abuse
  • Aggravated assault
  • Assault
  • Assault and battery
  • Battery
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Domestic violence
  • Murder
  • Property damage
  • Rape

Psychology and sociology

The causes of violent behaviour are often a research topic in psychology and sociology. Violence is often, but not always, a deviant behaviour.

The psychologist James W. Prescott performed a study about the cause of violence in the anthropological sense, which he mainly attaches to lack of mother-child bonding. He links repression of sexuality and punishment of children as a cause of violent societies.

Some writers (Riane Eisler, Walter Wink, Daniel Quinn) have suggested that violence - or at least the arsenal of violent strategies we take for granted - is a phenomenon of the last five to ten thousand years, and was not present in pre-domestication and early post-domestication human societies.

See also :

  • Violentization
  • Structural violence

Violence in the media

Main article: graphic violence

A highly debated topic is the influence of violent content in popular media such as film, television, music and video games.

Violence makes many appearances in these, much to the displeasure of parents and politicians. Violence in these media has led to censorship in extreme cases, and regulation in others, one case being the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board in 1994.

Violent content has been a central part of video game controversy, critics like Dave Grossman arguing that violence in games (some of which he calls "murder simulators") hardens children to unethical acts.

See also: Aestheticization of violence

Metaphorical violence

In Britain and continental Europe, the word "violence" is used in statements describing politics in a manner which would confuse those expecting such a physical word to be always taken literally. These stretch from Jean-Paul Sartre's phrase "inert violence" as a metaphor for social injustice to the use of the word to refer to angry speeches within a parliament hall that attack and belittle individuals or groups.

Health and wellness

The World Health Organization (WHO, [1]) estimates that each year around 1.6 million lives are lost world-wide due to violence. It is among the leading causes of death for people ages 15-44, youth violence being evermost in the rise. Its impact is greater among the male than the female population.

On October 3, 2002, the WHO launched the first World Report on Violence and Health[2]. In it, violence is defined as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation."

See also

  • Atrocity
  • Consensual violence
  • Domestic Violence
  • Hooliganism
  • Injury
  • Mutilation
  • Nonviolence
  • Police brutality
  • Religious violence
  • School violence
  • Sectarian violence
  • State violence
  • Street fighting
  • Violence in sports
    • Violence in hockey
  • Violence (personified) in Greek mythology

Resources

  • (National Women's Health Information Center, OWH, HHS)
  • Abuse (Center for Research on Women with Disabilities)