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Cultural Violence Essay

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Violence. Just mentioning the word conjures up many images of assault, abuse, and even murder. Violence is a broad subject with many categories. Some types of violence are terrorist violence and domestic violence. Violence can arise from many different sources; these sources whether biological, cultural, and social all can evoke violent behavior. All cultures experience some sort of violence, and this paper considers violence as a cultural phenomenon across a range of various settings. Violence plays a part in both Islamic and Indian cultures according to the articles “Understanding Islam” and “Rising Dowry Deaths” by Kenneth Jost and Amanda Hitchcock, respectively. From an anthropological perspective, violence emphasizes concerns of meaning, representation and symbolism.
Throughout history, violence and religion were always related, however, how this violence is formed and for how it is used differs in every religion and also on one’s view. Even the most serene religions are capable of supporting violence since all religions incorporate a violent nature along with the dedication and belief. In “Understanding Islam”, Kenneth Jost poses a question: Is Islam a religion that promotes violence? His answer is no but he does not answer it directly. He does bring up possible arguments from the opposite side and rebuts it. He “A CBS poll in April 2006 found that 46 percent of those surveyed believe Islam encourages violence more than other religions. A comparable poll four years earlier registered a lower figure: 32 percent. These perceptions are sometimes inflamed by U.S. evangelical leaders... [Franklin] Graham called Islam ‘a very evil and wicked religion’ and [Jerry] Vines, called Muhammed, Islam’s founder and prophet, a “demon-pos...


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...sed to legitimize violence in its direct or structural form. Cultural violence is usually associated with one's country that is economically or socially unstable, like India for example. Dowry is an example of cultural violence. Even though India is prospering, it also has its share of poverty. Indian families arrange the daughter’s marriage to a wealthier family hoping it would get them out of the lower class but it usually makes the bride’s family even poorer. Poverty is usually on of the main causes of cultural violence.



Works Cited

• Amanda Hitchcock. 2001. “Rising Number of Dowry Deaths in India.” Annual Editions: Anthropology 11/12, 34th Edition. Elvio Angeloni. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
• Kenneth Jost. 2005. “Understanding Islam.” Annual Editions: Anthropology 11/12, 34th Edition. Elvio Angeloni. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.


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