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AikiWeb System 05-18-2006 11:55 AM

Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
 
Discuss the article, "Violence" by Ross Robertson here.

Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/rrobertson/2006_05.html

Krista DeCoste 05-25-2006 09:07 AM

Re: Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
 
Ross, I found this article helpful in thinking about the issue of violence prevention. However, I think any general discussion on violence in society needs to include the component of gender. The violence perpetrated in relationships, including physical and sexual violence, doesn't seem to fit into the categories outlined in your article. If we are trying to eliminate violence we need to think about how we can encourage equality in relationships. For women, the threat of violence comes more frequently from the men in their lives or in their communities.

Thanks,
Krista

pezalinski 05-25-2006 01:55 PM

Re: Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
 
Quote:

Krista DeCoste wrote:
. However, I think any general discussion on violence in society needs to include the component of gender. The violence perpetrated in relationships, including physical and sexual violence, doesn't seem to fit into the categories outlined in your article...

From my reading of it, it is admittedly a gender-neutral description. Some forms of violence are more subtle than others, and may not have a direct "physical harm" component. I think if we included a definition of psychological harm directly, instead of indirectly ("society"), it would more accurately portray the roots of relational violence.

R.A. Robertson 06-20-2006 07:36 PM

Re: Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
 
Hi Krista,

I was trying to keep my discussion in the article as "top level" as possible. It's certainly true that violence takes on some unique characteristics when gender, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, and so on are introduced.
I also think it's likely that further thought would produce more categories than the ones I've listed. It was my aim with this article to provoke thought on some of the root causes of violence, and hope that we can learn to treat it as a multifaceted problem.
I'm grateful for your comments, and certainly welcome additional feedback.

Best,

Ross

giriasis 06-20-2006 08:58 PM

Re: Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
 
But what about control as a cause as well? It's almost territorial, but not quite. Control over others and oneself can be considered a cause of violence as well. And in case of rape and domestic violence (which are not really gender specific) the main cause is about the need to exert dominance over others. There is also the kind of violence that people wreak havoc on themselves with eating disorders and at the root of eating disorders is the need to control one's life by controlling (by not eating, purging, overeating) what one eats. Essentially, the person is exerting control over one's self in an attempt to exert some control, perhaps the only control, that they have in their life.

Mark Freeman 06-21-2006 05:14 AM

Re: Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
 
Quote:

Ross Robertson wrote:
Hi Krista,

I was trying to keep my discussion in the article as "top level" as possible. It's certainly true that violence takes on some unique characteristics when gender, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, and so on are introduced.
I also think it's likely that further thought would produce more categories than the ones I've listed. It was my aim with this article to provoke thought on some of the root causes of violence, and hope that we can learn to treat it as a multifaceted problem.
I'm grateful for your comments, and certainly welcome additional feedback.

Best,

Ross

Hi Ross,

I enjoyed your article, and one category that may be appropriate to add to your list is Idea/belief/faith based violence, as it doesn't seem to fit into what you already have ( unless you put it under abberation / a kind of mental sickness ). By this I mean violence metered out to others purely because one is under the orders of a higher power, or that the other doesn't believe the same as I therfore they are fair game.

What are your thoughts on this?

regards,

Mark

R.A. Robertson 06-21-2006 10:56 AM

Re: Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
 
Quote:

Anne Marie Giri wrote:
But what about control as a cause as well? It's almost territorial, but not quite. Control over others and oneself can be considered a cause of violence as well.[\]
There is also the kind of violence that people wreak havoc on themselves [\].

I think control is expressed in each of the categories. Is it symptomatic, or is it the underlying root to all the others? I'm not sure.

As for violence to self, I suspect there is a kind of schizophrenia involved in these cases (and to which none of us are immune). If so, then we could identify the various personalities involved and see which categories might still apply.

Very interesting points!

Ross

R.A. Robertson 06-21-2006 11:17 AM

Re: Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
 
Quote:

Mark Freeman wrote:
Hi Ross,

I enjoyed your article, and one category that may be appropriate to add to your list is Idea/belief/faith based violence, as it doesn't seem to fit into what you already have ( unless you put it under aberration / a kind of mental sickness ). By this I mean violence metered out to others purely because one is under the orders of a higher power, or that the other doesn't believe the same as I therefore they are fair game.

What are your thoughts on this?

regards,

Mark

Hi Mark,

Personally, I would put faith-based violence as a subcategory of Territory, and call it "Ideological Territory." We all compete in the realm of ideas and beliefs, but not everyone is willing to commit violence to impose our beliefs on others.

As for coercive violence, doing violence under orders, I would categorize this as a special instance of Fear. Fear can make us violent, but in this case the threat is alleviated by doing harm to a target designated by the one imposing the more immediate (albeit perhaps lessor) threat (military commander, religious leader, society, etc.).

As I mentioned, I think it would be wonderful if someone were to study this more in depth and propose a useful hierarchy that would help us better understand the cause and effects.

Ross

jonreading 06-21-2006 12:15 PM

Re: Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
 
When I was young, my siblings and I fought constantly. Inevitably, my parents would catch us and ask the prodding question, "what started the fight?" A special toy, remote control domination, taunting, something was always the cause of the fight. As I grew older, I realized my parents asked that question to gather data about the situation that immediatley preceeded our fights and predict when a fight would break out in the future.

Predicting violence could be compared to any other predicition, it relies on an empirical "database" of factors that statistically influence the outcome of a prediction. I like the outline of causal agents of violence presented in the article. In response ot comments, I would argue that conditional factors like gender, race, socio-economic status, mental condition, childhood abuse may increase the probability of violence, but inherently are not causal agents. For example, as a male I am more likely to commit a violence but I still require a causal agent to trigger the violence, such as football.

In critique of the article, causal agents are often hard to identify based on prima facia evidence. When a stranger approaches me, my sub-conscious gathers all kinds of data to create a bank of referential information about the stranger; gender, height, weight, race, posture, build, disability, and so on. As the stranger approaches, my bank of information is cross-referenced against my memory to create a "profile" of the stranger that ultimately tells me, "this stranger is not a threat," or "this stranger is a threat." Much if this data is not historical and therefore important information such as a history of child abuse, previous criminal record or mental disability are not available. You may be interested in explaining how causal factors are manifest outwardly. For example, someone with a history of child abuse may avoid eye contact or abuse animals (WARNING this is a sample statement and NOT based on factual data).

Overall, I enjoed the article. Thank you,

Taliesin 06-21-2006 12:22 PM

Re: Article: Violence by Ross Robertson
 
Interesting article. For myself though the definition of violence is too broad given it does not distinguish between an emotionally driven application of force and a deliberate application force with an intent to cause specific harm. It also seems to be based on there premise that violence is a fundamentally rational matter, and the even more curious assumption that human beings are fundamentally rational creatures rather than emotional creatures who rationalize.

This does raise the question as to why we would need to distinguish emotionally driven violence and clearly 'rational' violence. The answer to that would be that on an emotional level the psychological elements for violence are

arousal - (heightened physical state)
weapon - (means to cause harm)
target
trigger - (any action that in the attackers own mind justifies the attack)

Recognizing these elements and addressing them - particularly the trigger element - may very well enable treatment to minimize certainly violence within a society, particularly through promotion of a set of values (eg self discipline) that raise the trigger level and thus reduce the more emotionally driven and undisciplined attacks. After all social or cultural values would be what establishes what is acceptable.


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