Definition and the problem of violence for society

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Definition and the Problem of Violence for Society After reading about this topic in the Course Materials section, please answer the following questions by replying to this posting by 1/7. Then come back to post a reply to two of your classmates’ responses. Questions 3 and 4 are intended to get you thinking about the level of violence in society and its impact. You should write at least one or two sentences on each question. The rubric for the discussion forum is in 'Assignment Instructions' in Course Materials. 1. Why is violence so difficult to define? Think about and refer to the points raised in the readings. 2. Atyeo (1974) notes that sports violence is often seen as legitimate, that is, as acceptable. What do you think he means by this. What other forms of violence might be thought of as legitimate? 3. How big a problem are the following for society? Justify your responses. Violence Against Women School Violence Racist Violence Sports Violence 4. Do you think we have an exaggerated fear of violence? Explain. 5. What is one of your least favorite and one of your most favorite violent films, books, or tv series? Explain what you dislike and like about these.

Definition and the problem of violence for society
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Definition and the problem of violence for society
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Definition and the problem of violence for society
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Introductions. Definitions To Do: *Read the syllabus. Read this entire document. *Go to the Discussion Forum: Introduce yourself to your classmates *Read the summaries below and readings on definition 1-4 *Return to the Discussion Forum: Answer the Questions in ‘Definition and the Problem of Violence for Society’ Note: if you have problems downloading the readings, please get in touch immediately Introductions Welcome to the Sociology of Violence course. Make sure you have accessed and read the Syllabus. This week we will introduce ourselves to each other in the Discussion Forum section of blackboard. We will be using the Discussion Forum to discuss the subject areas covered in the course. In a new thread on the Discussion Forum please introduce yourself, write ‘Introductions: and then your name’ in the subject line. Tell everyone your major and reasons for taking this class. What subjects are you interested in studying on this course (e.g. school violence, the violence of war, violence against women, serial killing, sports violence etc)? Have you done an on-line class before? Please try to complete this as soon as possible and take the time to respond to the introductions of your classmates. 1 Sociology of Violence Key Concepts: Why study the sociology of violence? Active reading skills. Critical Thinking Why study the sociology of violence? This course gives you an opportunity to take a level three course that focuses on violence. It allows you to apply the knowledge you have gained from other courses -for example, theories of crime if you have taken SOC203 or an understanding of contemporary society and the wider social context from SOC101- to the subject of violence. It is designed to increase and develop your awareness of sociological and criminological approaches to violence. I hope that this course will get you to really think about violence in an informed way by encouraging your reading and understanding of the literature. The assignments are intended to help you develop your skills in writing. Active Reading Skills and Critical Thinking. In this course I try to make use of original readings so you can get a sense of academic study and research. You are also encouraged to be proactive about your studies, to do your own research and collect your own source material. When you are reading take notes on the article and highlight key points, this will help your understanding. Sometimes you will find the material challenging, do not be put off. Often when you return to an article a day or so later you will find it will make more sense. Remember you don’t have to agree with what is said. An important skill when reading academic articles is to be able to approach it objectively, assess and question what is being said. This will help you to start thinking critically about the subject of violence. It is important to be able to stand back, think about the arguments that are being presented and to maintain a ‘critical eye’; are there, for examples, other explanations, is the researched flawed in some way and so on? 2 Definitions of Violence Today’s topic is on the problem of defining violence. It is not clear what we mean by ‘violence’; what will be ‘violence ‘ to one person will not be to another. One person will define a push or a shove as violence, another will not. How we define violence depends on our gender, age, class, ethnicity, level of education and past experiences. Definitions change over time, at one point it was seen as ‘normal’ to punish children physically in school, today some people would see this as an example of child abuse. Those who have experienced violence against them, especially women and children, may not define their experiences as ‘violence’ at the time. The title of the MS magazine report was entitled I Never Called it Rape (Warshaw, 1994) to highlight the problem women have in defining their experiences of date rape as rape. Definitions also vary from cultural to culture, in the United States female circumcision is often considered as ‘violence against women’ and many activists use the term ‘female genital mutilation’ to describe the practice but it would not be violence to the cultures that practice it. Throughout this course we will be constantly thinking about what we mean by ‘violence’ and the different behaviors the word can encompass. 3 Reading: Definition Readings 1- 3 are attached. Definition: Reading 1 In this first reading from Henry Brownstein’s book The Social Reality of Violence and Violent Crime (2000) (the full text is on reserve in the John Jay library), Brownstein refers to Graham Newman’s work. Newman draws our attention to the number of forms of violence. I particularly want you to consider the questions he raises in the second to last paragraph. Definition: Reading 2 pages 1-2 In this reading from N. Scheper Hughes and P. Bourgois (2004) Violence in War and Peace, Victoria: Blackwell, the authors describe violence as a ‘slippery concept’ and as ‘in the eye of the beholder’, reflect on what they mean by this. On page 2 they write of ‘infant mortality, slow starvation, disease’ which impacts disproportionately on marginalized groups. This too should also be considered as ‘violence’. Definition: Reading 3 In this section from my book Gender, Violence and the Social Order (2000) I discuss the difficulties that women in my research had in defining their experiences as ‘domestic violence’. 4 Definition: Reading 4 In the extract below, sports violence is discussed. Atyeo (1974, p. 11) notes how sports violence is often seen as ‘legitimate’ and acceptable. And, although the injuries may be the same as those inflicted by a mugger, we do not see it in the same way. We do not necessary define it as actual ‘violence’ or consider it to be a ‘social problem’. Sports violence is an area that we will discuss later in the course. 5 6 Discussion Forum: Definition and the Problem of Violence for Society Now go the discussion forum and answer the following questions by 1/7 1. Why is violence so difficult to define? Think about and refer to the points raised in readings. 2. Atyeo (1974) argues that sports violence is often seen as legitimate, What do you think he means by this. What other forms of violence might be thought of as legitimate? 3. How big a problem are the following for society? Justify your responses. - Violence Against Women School Violence Racist Violence Sports Violence 4. Do you think we have an exaggerated fear of violence? Explain. 5. What is one of your least favorite and one of your most favorite violent films, books or TV series? Explain what you dislike and like about these? Respond to at least two of your classmates. 7

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