Social Reality: Violence, Power, and Change
The Concepts of Violence, Aggression, and Aggressiveness
In this post, we will talk about the concepts of violence, aggression, and Aggressiveness.
Violence form the Latin word vis means "force".
Let's define better the approach to the reality of violence and aggression.
Violence generally is defined as the use of "force" to coerce and obtain submission.
"Violence between people is directly proportional to the violence that the States and the economic society exercise over them." - charlie777pt
There are multiple forms of Violence such as environmental violence, daily violence at work, social exclusion, gender and race violence, and bullying at school, with the goal of domination and involving submission, through the arbitrary exercise of force.
Violence is a force that can be exercised directly or indirectly and has various forms and grading possibilities from killing, hurting or threaten against faith, race, genre, freedom and physical integrity.
Physical Violence in personal relationships is a brutal attempt to hurt another person or group, and it is part of the history of Humanity.
In my own view interpersonal violence increases when we have totalitarian regimens or there is a scarcity of goods needed for survival, like war zones or desertifying places that are growing on planet Earth.
Violence between people is directly proportional to the violence that the states and the economic society exercise over them.
On the other hand, the violence generated by political oppression is a threat to the system's "Order", it is nominated as "Disorder" and it is seen as an attack.
In 1988 Wieviorka speaks about Violence as private and collective.
“Government” itself does no harm because it is a fictional entity. But the belief in “government” – the notion that some people actually have the moral right to rule over others – has caused immeasurable pain and suffering, injustice and oppression, enslavement and death.” - Larken RoseSociety only knows only violent "therapies" to deal with violence.
I advert that before reading the next paragraphs be aware that we are psychoanalytical language that can be considered offensive.
Freud classified Violence as the primordial foundation of mankind as a cycle of violence first of the father to the son and later from son(s) to the father.
Jim Morrison expresses this paradigm of the Oedipus Complex in the famous lyric "Father, yes son, I want to kill you Mother, I want to, fuck you".
For Freud, the son(s) succeed to the absolute power of the father while Girard poses a different hypotheses and talks of "sacrifices" when in one group of sons or brothers that generate violence of all against one, that is used as "sacrificial victim" to avoid the fight of all against all.
Using Freud's concepts Enriquez(1983) establishes a difference between "sacrificial violence" (of the "escape goats" to serve as "glue" to a strengthen union of the perpetrators) and "dominating violence" (generates inequalities of social stratification based in a conflictual balance between domination and submission )
"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
What is Aggression?
For Lorenz (1966) aggression is an instinct connected to personal self-affirmation and is an adaptative pulsion for evolution and survival of the species.
Buss (1971) classifies Violence in terms of the kind and intensity :
Active Aggression (hit and insults)
Passive Aggression (deny help to needed people)
Physical Aggression and
Direct Aggression - aggression in face-to-face confrontation aggressor/target
Undirected Aggression - Using third part to execute it
Feshbach (1964) divided aggression into a hostile (direct damage), instrumental (with a different objective ), and expressive (self-assertion with aggression)
Aggression as a form of violence is always related to a "social representation" that accept or condemn those aggressive actions, that is determined by cultural norms and rules.
So let's study what legitimates violence, the "normative support" and the justified benefits of aggression.
Blumenthal and others made the following inquiry to study the "normative support" aspect.
They made a test where is asked to people what kind of police intervention should have in some cases of breaking the Law of Property, without causing personal damages, perpetrated by three different groups:
a) - A group of white students.
b) - A group of Afro-American in a riot
c) - A group of vagabonds
For the group of vagabonds and Afro-Americans, 2/3 think the police should use guns without killing and 1/3 believe police should use guns to kill.
For the group of white students, only 50% agreed that the police should fire without killing and 20% said police should shoot to kill.
What is Aggressiveness?Aggressiveness is a human characteristic of the will to use the force of violence over a person.
It was defined by Laplanche & Pontalis as a "tendency ou set of tendencies that actualize in real or phantasmic conducts, which aim to cause damage to oneself, destroy, coarse, humiliate, and so on."
In the psychoanalytical view is Freud uses aggression to designate aggressiveness and aggression and for him, it is inside the psychic apparatus using the theory of pulsions (life and death).
He talks about a pulsion of Aggression as the pulsion of death-oriented to the outside world as a form of relation with others as exercised violence and the destruction of the object.
I belong to an era when people who had strong personalities, could say no to bullying in the first days of school, and I learned that as I was not bullied I always felt that initiation ritual as a group of cowards attacking in a group.
Strangely today I see that the initiated are willing to be humiliated behind reason because they feel that it is a part of crawling the pyramid of power.
But sadly I learned too that the ones that were more pressed in the initiation ritual when they had the power they were the worst perpetrators against the integrity of the "initiated".
Society is full of the initiation rites destined to perpetuate and make violence a vicious cycle.
Last posts in this series:Introduction:
Social Reality: Violence, Power and Change
An Introduction to Violence
The Concepts of Violence - this post
Articles from the next series of posts about Social Reality, Violence, Power and Change:Violence:
The Theories of Violence
The influencers of Violence
The rise of Today's Violence
What is Power?
The Nature of Power
The Dynamics of Power
The Effects and Consequences of Power
Change and Culture
The Theories and conceptualization of Change
Factors determining Change
The ways of Change
References of books consulted:Les concepts fondamentaux de la psychologie sociale - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer
La psychologie sociale - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer
The social-violence dynamics, power, change - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer Planeta / ISPA, 1980
Gustave-Nicolas Fischer is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Psychology Laboratory at the University of Metz.
French, J. R. P., & Raven, B.H. (1959). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright (Ed.), Studies in social power. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute of Social Research
Castel, R. The metamorphoses of the social question. Voices, 1998.
Moscovici, S. (1976). Social influence and social change. London: Academic Press
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison