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What Is Violence?

“Violence” may seem to be a set-in-stone concept, but perceptions can change. As we begin to consider some of the more common types of violence found in our society, it will be helpful to discuss how we perceive certain violent acts. With this in mind, respond to the following questions:

  • In what ways does being a victim of violence, or being a witness to violence, impact one’s perceptions?
  • Do people’s attitudes toward violence change as a result of how violence is portrayed in popular culture? For instance, do expressions of violence as part of entertainment cause us to redefine our understanding of violence? Consider the popularity of MMA fighting, books like Fifty Shades of Grey, violent TV shows like The Sopranos or Game of Thrones. . . do these forms of entertainment lead to more general acceptance of violence?
  • Does violence ever serve a useful purpose in society? In other words, are there acceptable forms of violence? If so, how do “acceptable” forms of violence differ from those we find objectionable?
  • Last, discuss the role of power in our perceptions of violence. Are we more likely to find violence objectionable when it is perpetrated by someone in a position of power over the victim? Provide an example to illustrate your response.

Explain your reasoning in your answers to all the questions.

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