Academic journal article
By Berger, Arthur Asa
ETC.: A Review of General Semantics , Vol. 51, No. 4
WHILE VIOLENCE IS AN important element of the mass media, the actual effects this violence has on audiences has stimulated heated debate. A great deal depends upon how we define violence. If we define it broadly, and involve matters such as intent and so-called "comic" violence, we will find a lot more violence on the media than if we define it narrowly. To make sense of this matter, let us consider how we find meaning in concepts.
As Saussure noted in his Course in General Linguistics:
Concepts are purely differential and defined not by their positive content but negatively by their relations within the other terms of the system.... [The] most precise characteristic [of these concepts] is in being what the others are not.
Given this notion, we can elaborate a number of different kinds of violence and aspects of violence, as the following list shows:
1 violence we see directly mediated violence 2 real mediated violence (wars) violence in fictions 3 comic violence serious violence 4 intended violence actualized violence 5 violence to individuals violence to groups 6 inferred violence documented violence 7 justified violence (cops) illegal violence (robbers) 8 verbal violence physical violence 9 violence to humans violence to animals 10 "fake" violence (wrestling) "true" violence (bar brawl) 11 violence to heroes violence to villains 12 violence in sports violence in everyday life 13 violence in past violence in future 14 violence against women violence against men 15 human violence mechanical violence 16 defensive violence offensive violence 17 violence by children violence by adults 18 weak violence (insult) strong violence (murder) 19 accidental violence intentional violence 20 images of violence prose descriptions of violence 21 violence by insane violence by sane 22 violence as means to end violence as end in itself 23 violence against animals violence against vegetables 24 causes of violence effects of violence 25 violence as action violence as reaction, response 26 many minor incidents one major incident 27 violence caused by fear violence caused by hatred 28 emotional response rational decision 29 violence against others violence against self (suicide) 30 ordered by others decided by self 31 root causes of trigger mechanisms that generate 32 sign of depravity cry for help 33 institutional, social exacerbated by the media 34 instinctive in humans taught by society, culture 35 de-individualization over-socialization, peer pressure
These bipolar oppositions point up the many kinds of violence, causes of violence, and perspectives on violence that can be taken. …