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Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

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  1. Chapter 7 Violence

  2. What Is Violence? • Violence: behavior that causes injury to people or damage to property • Institutional Violence: violence carried out by government representatives under the law • Anti-institutional Violence: violence directed against the government in violation of the law

  3. Violence as a Social Problem • When deciding whether a particular violent behavior is or is not a problem, people ask the following questions: • What do the actors intend by their actions? • Does violence conform to, or violate, social norms and values? • Does the violence support or threaten the social order? • Is the violence committed by or against the government?

  4. Criminal Violence • Most people see criminal offenses as the biggest part of the general problem of violence in our society • Violent crime: crime that involves violence or the threat of violence against others

  5. Murder • Murder involves the unlawful, intentional killing of one person by another • Manslaughter, by contrast, involves the unintentional killing of one person by another

  6. Murder • Despite a rise and then a decline in murder rates over the last 4 decades, the following patterns remain the same: • 2/3 of murders are committed with guns • males are involved in most murders • most murders are unplanned, resulting from arguments between acquaintances that suddenly turn violent • in most murder cases, offenders and victims are of the same race • the U.S.remains the most violent high-income country on earth

  7. Murder • Mass Murder: the intentional, unlawful killing of four or more people at one time and place • schools • workplaces • Serial Murder: the killing of several people by one offender over the course of a month or more

  8. Combating Deadly Violence • 3/4 of US adults believe the criminal justice system isn’t doing enough to combat violent crime • Changes in the system: • “three strikes and you’re out” policy • mandatory prison sentences for many crimes • increased number of police across the US • “zero tolerance” policy

  9. Rape • Forcible Rape: the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will • . The reporting of rape to the police has increased in recent years • Because most victims can identify their attackers, police make arrests in 1/2 of all reported rape • Today, acquaintance rape, date rape, and marital rape are prosecuted under the criminal code of conduct

  10. Violence Against Children • Violence against children was not recognized as a problem in the U.S. until the 1960s • A major contributor to raising national awareness was Dr. C. H. Kempe, who coined the term battered child syndrome

  11. Violence Against Children • Research shows that abuse is most common among children who • are very young • live with only one parent, especially a mother who is young; • live with a stepparent • live in poverty • have parents or other family members who abuse alcohol or other drugs • have parents who themselves were abused as children

  12. Violence Against Children • The 1974 Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act required local officials to promptly investigate all reports of child abuse • It also established a system of Child Protective Services (CPS) to conduct investigations and help parents stop abusive behavior

  13. Violence Against Women • Domestic violence is a serious national problem among both married and unmarried partners living together • U.S. women are more likely to be injured in the home than anywhere else • While men also suffer from family violence, women suffer the most serious injuries and in 85 percent of all cases, it’s men who assault women. • More than 1/3 of all women who are murdered die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner

  14. Violence Against Women • The women’s movement helped recognize violence against women as a social problem in the 1970s • Activists have succeeded in getting all states to enact stalking laws • Public support for victims of domestic violence is growing

  15. Violence Against Elders • Elder abuse occurs when family members or other care givers victimize older people • The highest rate of elder abuse is found among • families that are poor • members who are addicted to alcohol or other drugs • who themselves were victimized as children

  16. Violence Against Elders • Elder abuse emerged as a social problem in the 1980s • as a result of awareness of other types of family violence • due to activism on the part of seniors themselves • Elder abuse frequently goes unreported

  17. The Mass Media and Violence • There is no single cause of so much violence in U.S. society • Most researchers agree that the mass media play a part in the problem • Today’s young people live in a world dominated by the mass media, and violence is an ever-growing part of that culture

  18. The Mass Media and Violence • Most analysts agree that violence in the media affects everyone by desensitizing people to violence • Evidence suggests that exposure to media violence encourages young and old alike to view the world as unsafe and unjust

  19. Drugs and Violence • Drugs contribute to violence by distorting judgment and reducing inhibitions • Addictions can cause cravings so strong that the search for the next high may lead some people to violence and sometimes even to abandoning their children

  20. Drugs and Violence • Some suggest that legalizing drugs might reduce violence on the street • A significant amount of crime is motivated by a drug abuser’s need for ready cash to buy drugs • Proponents of drug legalization also note that by outlawing drugs, society ensures that drug dealing creates huge profits for dealers

  21. Poverty and Violence • Some analysts view poverty itself as a form of violence that U.S. society inflicts on people • Poverty weakens local neighborhoods so that communities have less ability to control violence and other law-breaking behavior • The inequities of the criminal justice system ensure that poor people charged with a crime are more likely to be convicted than wealthy people

  22. Youth Gangs and Violence • Youth gangs can be • nonviolent groups • those who sometimes clash over turf • all-out criminal organizations • Typical violent gang members • come from poor, single-parent families • are from neighborhoods characterized by high crime rates, drug abuse, and limited job opportunities

  23. Youth Gangs and Violence • Among violent gang members, resorting to violence is a strategy to avoid becoming a victim of violence • The greatest danger of violence comes from mixing street culture values with drug dealing

  24. Guns and Violence • The United States has more violent crime than any other high-income country • Recently, the biggest contributor to the problem of crime is the easy availability of guns • About 40 % of households have one or more guns (about 200 million firearms) • About 64 % of these weapons are handguns

  25. Guns and Violence • Gun owners believe in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution that guarantees citizens the right to “keep and bear arms” • Supporters of gun control look to countries like Canada, where government is aggressive in restricting ownership of guns. • Easy availability of guns is not the only cause of violence in the United States, but it is a large contributor

  26. The Biological Approach to Violence • The basic concept behind biological theories is that violence is innate • Sigmund Freud claimed that a tendency to act aggressively is part of human nature • We can expect some level of violence in any society • Critics say that these theories do little to explain why some groups of people have higher arrest rates for violent crime

  27. The Psychological Approach to Violence • This approach seeks to link violence to the operation of the individual personality • Dullard’s frustration-aggression theory assumes that: • people pursue goals that are important to them • when people are unable to achieve their goals, they experience frustration • people will direct their aggression at whatever or whomever they believe is preventing them from achieving their goals

  28. The Psychological Approach to Violence • Another approach explains the pattern of violence common to some people in terms of an antisocial personality • Most people with antisocial personalities are males who disregard the rules by the time they are teenagers • Sociopaths show no signs of remorse for their acts • Critics say that these theories don’t explain why aggression becomes violent in some cases and not in others

  29. Structural-Functional Analysis: The Culture of Violence • Affirms the primary importance of culture as the foundation of social reality, defining how people should deal with one another • No culture approves of any and all violence • Every culture points to certain situations in which violence is acceptable and may be desirable

  30. Structural-Functional Analysis: The Culture of Violence • The culture of violence thesis states • how much violence exists in a society - and whether people view the violence as justified or criminal - depends on the society’s cultural system • This perspective doesn’t explain why some people living in a particular neighborhood adopt patterns of violent behavior while others do not

  31. Symbolic-Interaction Analysis: Learning Violence • Highlights how violence emerges from interaction of individuals in their everyday lives • Social-learning theory states that children learn how to act by observing and imitating their parents and others who are important to them • Research shows that children are especially likely to learn aggressive and violent behavior when people reward them for violent actions, and also when they are the target of others violent actions

  32. Symbolic-Interaction Analysis: Learning Violence • A limit of the social-learning approach is that it says little about why entire groups of people - men - are more likely to use violence while other categories of people - women - are common targets of violence

  33. Social-Conflict Analysis: Violence and Inequality • Investigates the causes and consequences of social inequality • Understands violence in terms of the power certain categories of people have over others • From this perspective, crime takes on a political character as an act of rebellion and an effort to bring about change

  34. Social-Conflict Analysis: Violence and Inequality • Social-conflict theory doesn’t explain why nations with socialist systems use police and military power to repress dissent and why their prisons are so full

  35. Conservatives: Violence and Morality • Conservatives claim that human beings are prone to violence • It is up to the institutions of society – especially the family, religious groups, schools, and local communities – to control people’s behavior • Most conservatives favor tougher laws, more aggressive policing, and more severe penalties as a response to the rising tide of violence

  36. Liberals: Violence and Opportunity • Liberals assume that people tend to be nonviolent unless their lives are twisted by a poor social environment • Liberals see violence as one consequence of the problem of poverty • The problem of violence is greatest where economic opportunity is the scarcest • Liberals point to the easy availability of guns as fostering violence

  37. Radicals: Violence as Rebellion • Right wing radicals accept the conservative view that the rise in crime and violence is due to the decline of the traditional family and a weakening of religious beliefs • People on the far right hold government directly responsible for what they see as the collapse of society

  38. Radicals: Violence as Rebellion • People on the far left have not been involved in violent, antigovernment actions to the same degree as people on the far right. • The radical left does share the radical right’s belief that violence directed against the system may, at times, be justified