Measuring Violence and the Problems of Researching Violence and Structural Violence

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Attached you will find the Class 2 Summary document, Measuring Violence Readings 1- 2. Make sure you read the Class Summary document first, it contains all the instructions you will need and details the postings that you are required to make in the Discussion Forum. In the Discussion Forum you should write at least one or two sentences in response to the questions by 1/7. Note there are two sections for Class 2 - see also Structural Violence Measuring Violence and the Problems of Researching Violence After reading about this topic in the Course Materials section, please answer the following questions by replying to this posting by 1/7. You should write at least one or two sentences on each question. Then come back to post a reply to at least two of your classmates’ responses. 1. What is meant by the ‘hidden figure’? 2. Where is the ‘ hidden figure’ of violence likely to be greatest. Give reasons? 3. What does Elliott Currie say about the problems of using: a) Crime statistics or, b) Victimization study data or, c). Self- report studies or, d) Making cross-cultural comparisons? 4. Why does Currie regard the homicide figures as the most accurate of the officially collected statistics? Attached you will find the Class 2 (2) Summary document, Structural Violence Reading 1. Make sure you read the Class Summary document first, it contains all the instructions you will need and details the postings that you are required to make by 1/7 in the Discussion Forum. In the Discussion Forum you should write at least one or two sentences in response to the question. This is the clip from Bowling for Columbine - see Class Summary Structural Violence After reading about this topic in the Course Materials section, please answer the following question by replying to this posting by 1/7. You should write at least one or two sentences. Then come back to post a reply to two of your classmates’ responses. 1. ‘Structural violence is the violence of injustice’. Discuss what this means? You were asked to read the article by Yolanda Pierce ‘Why persecute the poor for being poor’ – how can what happened in relation to the child’s death be interpreted as an illustration of structural violence?

Measuring Violence and the Problems of Researching Violence To Do: * Read the summary below and the readings on measuring violence *Answer the Questions on ‘Measuring Violence and the ‘Hidden’ Figure’ by 1/7 *Read the Supplementary Research Section on p. 4 Note: if you have problems downloading the readings, please get in touch immediately THE EXTENT OF VIOLENCE 1. HOW CAN WE KNOW THE AMOUNT OF VIOLENCE IN SOCIETY? There are four main ways: i) crimes known to the police; ii) public responding to crime or victimization surveys; iii) self-report studies of offenders iv) crimes known to other agencies (eg emergency rooms, battered women's refuges) 2. WHAT IS THE HIDDEN FIGURE? The hidden figure is the volume of crime which is not registered in the criminal statistics. It refers to crimes that are not reported or not recorded. This ‘hidden figure’ was first recognized by the statistician, Adolphe 1 Quetelet, the Belgian mathematician, astronomer and developer of social statistics in the 1830s. All methods of collecting statistics have a hidden figure, but victimization surveys are the most accurate, e.g. The National Crime and Victimization Survey (NCVS) or the British Crime Survey in the UK. 3. HOW BIG IS THE ‘HIDDEN FIGURE? It is estimated that the true extent of crime is four and a half times larger than that recorded, that is 77% of crime is in the hidden figure (Young, 2000). 4. PROBLEMS OF RESEARCH: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Domestic Violence is an extremely difficult area to research, in Class One we looked briefly at the difficulties that women have in defining their experiences of ‘domestic violence’. Levels of non-reporting of domestic violence are considerable for various reasons: fear of reprisals (the assailant may be near to the interview situation), embarrassment, psychological blocking and so on. Domestic violence is often unknown to anyone outside of the immediate family and it is, therefore, unlikely that a woman will want to reveal her experiences to a researcher. Violence that takes place in the home - domestic violence and child abuse – is considered to have the highest hidden figure of any crime, what we know about it represents the ‘tip of the iceberg’. 2 Reading: Measuring Violence Readings 1- 2 are attached Measuring Violence: Reading 1 In this extract from The Roots of Danger: Violence in a Global Perspective (2009), the author, Elliott Currie, discusses the different ways in which we measure violence and the problems of measurement. As he points out, ‘much – in fact most – violent crime flies under the radar of the authorities, in some societies more than others. As a result, almost all of our usual measures of violence, understate it considerably, some measures more than others’; therefore when we consider statistics on violence we must be exercise caution, they are unlikely to reveal the true level and patterns of violence. Pay particular attention to what Currie says about the problems of using police statistics, victimization surveys and self-report studies. Measuring Violence: Reading 2 In this article I discuss my research on domestic violence and how I tried to overcome the problem of the ‘hidden figure’ . 3 Discussion Forum ‘Measuring Violence and the Hidden Figure’ 1. What is meant by the ‘hidden figure’? 2. Where is the ‘hidden figure’ of violence likely to be greatest. Give reasons? 3. What does Elliott Currie say about the problems of using one of the following: a) Crime statistics or, b) Victimization study data or, c). Selfreport studies or, d) Making cross-cultural comparisons 4. Why does Currie regard the homicide figures as the most accurate of the officially collected statistics? Supplementary Research: The US Department of Justice publishes data on homicide rates and trends at Access this link (you may need to cut and paste it into your browser), it will give you information on levels and patterns of homicide. Note that the homicide rate has declined since the mid-1990s. We will be considering some of the reasons for the decline. A good book to read in reference to this is Karmen, A (2000) New York Murder Mystery, New York: NYU Press. 4 5
Structural Violence To Do: *Read the summary below, Chapter 4 in Gregg Barak’s Violence and Non-Violence, Yolanda Pierce’s attached article ‘Why Persecute the Poor for Being Poor?’ Watch the excerpt from Bowling for Columbine on the Kayla Rowlands’ case. * Answer the Question on ‘Structural Violence’ in the Discussion Forum by 1/7 Note: if you have any problem downloading the readings, please get in touch immediately Structural Violence Key Concepts: Social structure. unequal access to power. poverty This extract is from: Winter, D. D., & Leighton, D. C. (2001). Structural violence. In D. J. Christie, R. V. Wagner, & D. D. Winter (Eds.), Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace psychology in the 21st century. New York: Prentice-Hall. “ Introduction By Deborah DuNann Winter and Dana C. Leighton Direct violence is horrific, but its brutality usually gets our attention: we notice it, and often respond to it. Structural violence, however, is almost always invisible, embedded in ubiquitous social structures, normalized by stable institutions and regular experience. Structural violence occurs whenever people are disadvantaged by political, legal, economic or cultural traditions. Because they are longstanding, structural inequities usually seem ordinary, the way things are and always have been. The chapters in this section teach us about some important but invisible forms of structural violence, and alert us to the powerful cultural mechanisms that create and maintain them over generations. 1 Structured inequities produce suffering and death as often as direct violence does, though the damage is slower, more subtle, more common, and more difficult to repair. Globally, poverty is correlated with infant mortality, infectious disease, and shortened lifespans. Whenever people are denied access to society’s resources, physical and psychological violence exists. Johan Galtung originally framed the term structural violence to refer to any constraint on human potential due to economic and political structures (1969). Unequal access to resources, to political power, to education, to health care, or to legal standing, are forms of structural violence. When inner city children have inadequate schools while others do not, when gays and lesbians are fired for their sexual orientation, when laborers toil in inhumane conditions, when people of color endure environmental toxins in their neighborhoods, structural violence exists. Unfortunately, even those who are victims of structural violence often do not see the systematic ways in which their plight is choreographed by unequal and unfair distribution of society’s resources. Structural violence is problematic in and of itself, but it is also dangerous because it frequently leads to direct violence. Those who are chronically oppressed are often, for logical reasons, those who resort to direct violence. For example, cross-national studies of murder have shown a positive correlation between economic inequality and homicide rates across 40 nations (Hansmann & Quigley, 1982; Unnithan & Whitt, 1992). In the U.S., racial inequality in wealth is correlated with murder rates (Blau & Golden, 1986). Often elites must use direct violence to curb the unrest produced by structural violence. For example, during the 1980s, mean income disparity between whites and blacks in the same urban area predicted use of deadly force by police (Jacobs & O'Brien, 1998). Structural violence often requires police states to suppress resentments and social unrest. Huge income disparities in many Latin American countries are protected by correspondingly huge military operations, which in turn drain resources away from social programs and produce even more structural violence. 2 Organized armed conflict in various parts of the world is easily traced to structured inequalities. Northern Ireland, for example, has been marked by economic disparities between Northern Irish Catholics-- who have higher unemployment rates and less formal education--and Protestants (Cairns & Darby, 1998). In Sri Lanka, youth unemployment and underemployment exacerbates ethnic conflict (Rogers, Spencer & Uyangoda, 1998). In Rwanda, huge disparities between the Hutu and Tutsies eventually led to ethnic massacres. While structural violence often leads to direct violence, the reverse is also true, as brutality often terrorizes bystanders, who then become unwilling or unable to confront social injustice. Increasingly, civilians pay enormous costs of war through death and devastation of neighborhoods and ecosystems. Ruling elites rarely suffer from armed con-flict as much as civilian populations do, who endure decades of poverty and disease in war-torn societies. When social inequities are noticed, attempts are made to rationalize and understand them. Unfortunately, one outcome of this process is to assume that victims must in some way deserve their plight. But certainly it is easy to see that young children do not deserve to be victims of structural violence. Finally, to recognize the operation of structural violence forces us to ask questions about how and why we tolerate it, questions which often have painful answers for the privileged elite who unconsciously support it. A final question of this section is how and why we allow ourselves to be so oblivious to structural violence. Susan Opotow offers an intriguing set of answers, in her article ‘Social Injustice’. She argues that our normal perceptual/cognitive processes divide people into in-groups and out-groups. Those outside our group lie outside our scope of justice. Injustice that would be instantaneously confronted if it occurred to someone we love or know is barely noticed if it occurs to strangers or those who are invisible or irrelevant. We do not seem to be able to open our minds and our hearts to everyone, so we draw conceptual lines between those who 3 are in and out of our moral circle. Those who fall outside are morally excluded, and become either invisible, or demeaned in some way so that we do not have to acknowledge the injustice they suffer. Moral exclusion is a human failing, but Opotow argues convincingly that it is an outcome of everyday social cognition. To reduce its nefarious effects, we must be vigilant in noticing and listening to oppressed, invisible, outsiders. Inclusionary thinking can be fostered by relationships, communication, and appreciation of diversity. Like Opotow, the authors in this section point out that structural violence is not inevitable if we become aware of its operation, and build systematic ways to mitigate its effects. Learning about structural violence may be discouraging, overwhelming, or maddening, but these papers encourage us to step beyond guilt and anger, and begin to think about how to reduce structural violence. All the authors in this section note that the same structures (such as global communication and normal social cognition) which feed structural violence, can also be used to empower citizens to reduce it. In the long run, reducing structural violence by reclaiming neighborhoods, demanding social justice and living wages, providing prenatal care, alleviating sexism, and celebrating local cultures, will be our most surefooted path to building lasting peace”. 4 Reading: Structural Violence Reading 1 is attached Article by Yolanda Pierce: Reading 1 In this article Yolanda Pierce highlights the impact of poverty and inequality. She argues that when Raquel Nelson was convicted of vehicular homicide she was being convicted of the ‘crime of being poor’ in the United States. Documentary: Bowling for Columbine, the case of Kayla Rowland. Watch the sections (25,26,27) in Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine on the case of Kayla Rowland. Bowling for Columbine is available in the John Jay library and is also on Netflix. I am attaching a youtube clip. In Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore shows the Buell elementary shooting where a 6 year old boy shot another 6 year old, Kayla Rowland. Moore puts the blame on the social structure; the background to this case is the poverty in which the child lived in. The child’s mother, Tamara Owens, was living with her brother after being evicted as she couldn’t afford the rent (it was her brother’s gun that her son found). She was forced to work as part of Michigan’s welfare to work program in order to get food stamps and health care for her children. Owens worked two jobs. As Moore says, the boy’s mother “had to serve drinks and make fudge for rich people. She didn’t see her son take a gun to school because she had to leave home for work before he got up”. Think about how this child’s circumstances contributed to the terrible events at Buell elementary school. 5 Clip from Bowling for Columbine (you may need to cut and paste into your browser): ‘Structural Violence’ Answer the following question by 1/7 1. ‘Structural violence is the violence of injustice’. Discuss what this means? 2. You were asked to read the article by Yolanda Pierce ‘Why persecute the poor for being poor’ – how can what happened in relation to the child’s death be interpreted as an illustration of structural violence? 6
Why persecute the poor for being poor? Raquel Nelson's conviction for causing her own child's death by jaywalking shows America's indifference to the cost of poverty Yolanda Pierce, Friday 19 August 2011 09.30 EDT larger | smaller Article history Raquel Nelson's son was killed by a drunk hit-and-run driver as she attempted to cross a five-lane highway in Atlanta. Photograph: Alamy/M stock I love to cook and was delighted when a friend requested a pan of my favourite dish. In search of my "secret ingredient", I rode to the grocery store in the airconditioned comfort of my car, focused on my task, with not a thought that it is a luxury to have several grocery stories in my vicinity, a working vehicle that can take me to those stores, and the disposable income to spend on life's basic needs and a few wants. Like most middle-class Americans, a trip to the grocery story is an errand one takes for granted. However, it is a story, like that of Raquel Nelson, which humbles me and deeply troubles my soul, reminding me that poverty in the United States means a special brand of persecution. Instead of waging a war on poverty, we are waging a war on poor people. Nelson was convicted of vehicular homicide over her own child's death, although she does not own a car. Her conviction carries more time in jail than the person who actually hit and killed her four-year-old son. Nelson, who had taken two buses to Wal-Mart to shop for groceries, attempted to cross the street with her three children at the bus stop, located on the opposite side of a highway from her home. The bus stop is on a busy Atlanta road, a five-lane highway with no marked 1 crossings, and the housing complex where she lived required crossing this dangerous intersection. The driver of the vehicle, who admitted to being under the influence of alcohol and pain medication, and who is partially blind in one eye, pleaded guilty to a hitand-run charge. He has already served his six-month sentence, despite this being his third hit-and-run conviction. The mother, Nelson, whose son was killed at the tender age of four, has been convicted of vehicular homicide for "crossing the street other than at a crosswalk" and "reckless conduct", a crime for which there is a three-year prison sentence. I keep trying to understand this conviction and the crime that the jury believes she committed. How is one guilty of vehicular manslaughter without a vehicle? Why does the grieving victim face a stiffer penalty than the convicted driver? Why are there no safe crossings in front of a residential complex? Why were the complaints about traffic from other tenants of these apartments ignored? Why not lower the speed limit in this residential neighbourhood? Why design a city and a transportation system hostile to those who need it the most? Why persecute the poor for simply being poor? Because I believe the jury convicted Nelson for the crime of being poor in this country – the crime of not being able to afford a vehicle; the crime of needing to take two buses to buy groceries; the crime of living in an apartment complex located on a busy highway; the crime of being reminded that while many of us live in relative luxury, others are risking their lives for basic necessities. This quote from the advocacy group, Transportation for America, sums up the true scope of Nelson's crime: 2 "Nelson, 30 and African-American, was convicted on the charge this week by six jurors who were not her peers: all were middle-class whites, and none had ever taken a bus in metro Atlanta. In other words, none had ever been in Nelson's shoes: They had never taken two buses to go grocery shopping at Wal-Mart with three kids in tow. They had never missed a transfer on the way home that caused them to wait a full hour-and-a-half with tired and hungry kids for the next bus. They had never been let off at a bus stop on a five-lane speedway, with their apartment in sight across the road, and been asked to drag those three little ones an additional half-mile-plus down the road to the nearest traffic signal and back in order to get home at last." I take for granted my ability to run to the grocery store and pull my car up to my door without having to negotiate a five-lane highway with my small child; these are the luxuries of my current existence. But as a child who grew up in the unrelenting poverty of an inner city, I understand this story all too well. It is a story of trying to provide for a family, even when that means two bus rides for fresh groceries. It is a story of food deserts in urban areas, where the only food available is the unhealthiest food available. It is a story of a city that doesn't care enough about its poorest citizens having access to efficient means of travel. It is a story of human indifference to the true cost of poverty. It is a story repeated in cities all over this country. We continue – whether in planning our cities to privilege those who have vehicles or implementing an educational system based on property taxes – to disadvantage the poor. Nelson 3 may have erred in attempting to cross the street at the bus stop, but the crime for which she was truly convicted was her poverty. She is poor in a country that hates poor people, a country that hates the reminder that there are those who must scrape together the barest necessities of life. At the final sentencing hearing, the judge gave Nelson probation and the option of a new trial. She will not have to serve the jail time that the guilty verdict of vehicular manslaughter usually warrants. Perhaps the judge felt it was the height of cruelty to send a mother to jail, one who had witnessed the brutal death of one child by a drunk driver and who had two surviving children at home. I still think about those 12 jury members, the group of her "peers" that found Nelson guilty in the first place. And I continue to think about the larger structural forces in place in the United States, from our tax system to our educational system, that issue a "guilty verdict" to some, simply because of their poverty. 4

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School: UT Austin



Measuring Violence and Structural Violence
Institution Affiliation


Part 1
Measuring Violence
1. What is meant by the ‘hidden figure’?
'Hidden figure' is the number of crime that goes unrecorded or it is not reported to the
police or other legal authorities. Therefore, since most crimes are not recorded, statistics
show that 77% of the crimes are the hidden figure and the remaining percentage is that of the
registered crimes. All modes of collecting statistics have hidden figures since some crimes
may go unrecognized especially in the rural areas and less developed countries. This ‘hidden
figure' was discovered in the 1830s by Adolphe Quetelet who was an astronomer,
mathematician, and social statistics developer.
2. Where is the ‘hidden figure’ of violence likely to be greatest? Give reasons?
The ‘hidden figure’ is likely to be greatest in domestic violence...

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