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Culture of Violence? Jordan Condo Santiago Ibarra Emilee Lawson

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1 Culture of Violence? Jordan Condo Santiago Ibarra Emilee Lawson
Dominic Randazzo Cassandra Stuart

2 Why violence? “Violence is important virtually by definition. In some respects, the whole field of conflict resolution is about finding alternatives to violence.” – Hauss (

3 Definitions Violence Conflict and violence
“Hard”/physical vs. “Soft”/symbolic or psychological (Suarez-Orozco & Robben) “large-scale violence takes place in complex and over-determined socio-cultural contexts which intertwine psychic, social, political, economic, and cultural dimensions” and “targets the body, the psyche, as well as the socio-cultural order” (Suarez-Orozco & Robben) Conflict and violence “There can be conflict without violence, but not violence without conflict. It is thus important to detect the potential for violence in conflicts.” (Hopenhayn) Intractable conflict and violence Not all violent conflicts are intractable; not all intractable conflicts are violent (Hauss)

4 Social & Cultural Roots of Violent Conflict
Conflict as cultural behavior – “The culture of conflict is a society’s configuration of norms, practices, and institutions which affect what people enter into disputes about, with whom they fight, how the disputes evolve, and how they are likely to end. It is a product of social structural organization and psychocultural dispositions.” (Ross) Situations, conditions or processes conducive to the outbreak of violent conflict – the Latin American experience (Hopenhayn) Culture of violence vs. ideologies that legitimate violence (Suarez-Orozco & Robben; Hopenhayn)

5 Why do we care? Cultural frames shape our perceptions, attributions, judgments, and ideas of self and other – cultures are powerful, and often unconscious, “influencing conflict and attempts to resolve conflict in imperceptible ways” (LeBaron) “Culture is critical in shaping the manor in which people perceive, evaluate, and choose options for dealing with conflict” (Fry & Bjorkqvist) Alternatives to violence DO exist (Fry & Bjorkqvist) By studying CR from different cultural settings, it is possible to enhance our repertoire of alternatives to violence and discover widely applicable CR strategies (Fry & Bjorkqvist)

6 Religion: Proclivity to Violence?
Modern Thoughts Huntington: “Clash of Civilizations” Rapoport: Parity in espousing good and evil Fox Study Frequency of State Failures Revolutions, ethnic wars, mass killings Counts acts between religious groups and between sects of same religious group Controls for uneven religious group size

7 Number of Proportional State Failures from 1965-2001
Fox’s Results Number of Proportional State Failures from

8 Discussion of Fox’s Results
1965 to 2001: Muslims were proportionally more violent Religious conflict is on the rise Basic confirmation of Huntington that religious cleavages are a source of conflict Caveats Difficulty in separating secularization’s effect on nationalism from religion Limited timeframe

9 Piety Gone Wild: The Crusades
Dates: Parties: Christian armies versus Muslims and Jews Role of religion: Pope urged warriors to protect Christians going on pilgrimages Confounding factors: Statist concerns of princes; church’s desire for authority and land

10 From Riots to Pogrom: Gujarat
Date: 2002 Parties: Hindu-nationalists, Muslims, state functionaries Role of religion: Muslims attacked by Hindus of different castes; Electioneering Confounding Factors: Nationalism; class struggle

11 Why Does Religion Incite Violence?
Religion as self-identity Power of interpretation Fundamentalism God’s need for human accomplices “God’s War” or the “just war” Good versus evil; light versus dark Infidels ruling over true believers

12 Religious Revelations
Are some religions more prone to violent conflict? Fox suggests ‘yes’ Role of nationalism, secularism, historical events (timeframe), etc. Religion remains a source of conflict Fundamentalism in the post-9/11 West

13 Ethnicity and Violence
Arab-Kurdish Conflict in Iraq

14 Why an Ethnic Conflict? Language Culture Religion Territory

15 Iraq’s Demographics: ~75% Arab ~20% Kurds

16 Kurdish History in Iraq
Modern Iraqi State created by League of Nations after WWI with British Mandate. Kurdish autonomous state Saddam Hussein’s Rule

17 Violence Against Kurds
Ongoing since 1918 Examples: 1988 Chemical attack during Iran-Iraq War Persian Gulf War

18 Interaction between ethnicity and economics

19 Economic Conflict Now, but…
Analysis: Kurds the winner in Iraq oil law. Lando, Ben. United Press International, February 27, 2007. “Turkish leaders warned Iraqi Kurds Tuesday that their claims to the ethnically volatile, oil-rich city of Kirkuk in Iraq and talk of independence would fuel conflict in the region…” Agence France-Presse, February 27, 2007.

20 Addressing the Violence
Understanding what the conflict is What has led to the violence? Is the cause systemic, proximate or immediate? What are the parties’ interests? What are the parties willing to do?

21 Motivations for Violence
External wars – Fighting over property and resources Internal wars - Focused on power struggles of dictatorial and totalitarian regimes, religious and ethnic factors Combination - Internal war and violence advanced or precipitated by external economic forces and internal greed for resources and power. Nye, J. S. (2003). Understanding International Conflicts. New York: Longman.

22 Motivations for Violence
When conflict arises “people seek security in increasingly smaller and narrower identity groups. This, it seems, is why the lines of contemporary armed conflict are increasingly drawn along ethnic, religious, or regional affiliations rather than along ideological or class lines.” Lederach, J. P. (1997). Building peace: Sustainable reconciliation in divided societies. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, P.13.

23 Preventing Violence Goal: Achieving a Culture of Peace by:
Presenting peace as an alternative to war Preventing conflict from exploding into war and violence Re-establishing peace when violence erupts As promoted by United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (Boulding, E. (2000). Cultures of peace: The hidden side of history (1st ed.). Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.; Herr, R., & Zimmerman-Herr, J. (Eds.). (1998). Transforming violence: Linking local and global peacemaking. Waterloo, ON: Herald Press; Mayor, F., & Adams, D. (2000). The culture of peace: A programme of action. Prospects, 1, 3-13.

24 The Seville Statement Adopted by UNESCO in 1989
Laid the foundation for the culture of peace program

25 UNESCO’s Eight Areas within a Program of Action
Education for a culture of peace Sustainable economic and social development Respect for all human rights Equality between men and women Democratic Participation Understanding, tolerance and solidarity Participatory communications and the free flow of information and knowledge Internal Peace and security, including disarmament and economic conversion

26 Mechanisms to Achieve Goals
Preventative Action: research, early intervention to avoid being caught by surprise when violence erupt, recognize signs of impending violence, judging the probability that certain events will lead to violence Negotiation: peace talks, honesty, trust, being willing to come to the table, establishing and building relationships, overcome desire to dominate or destroy the opposing parties’ ability to pursue own interests

27 Mechanisms to Achieve Goals
Mediation/Arbitration: using a third party to assist in coming to an agreement, doing the best thing for all parties involved, win-win, agreeing to disagree and move forward, agreeing not to use violence or to use it as a last resort Litigation: using law to determine outcome, deters violence if government/community follows up with court orders, sense of fairness if used correctly

28 Conclusion Hatreds are woven into the fabric of culture through history and sometimes myth Understanding and tolerance are the greatest challenges Significant change in attitude, values and behaviors must occur in order to reach sustainable non-violence

29 Group Discussion Do you believe that some cultures, religions, and ethnic groups are more prone to use violence than others? Why? How would you use preventative action, negotiation, litigation, and arbitration/mediation to manage violent conflict (or its potential outbreak) more effectively?


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