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Published : September 16, 2015 | Author : gadhre
Category : Criminal law | Total Views : 7208 | Rating :

Avinash Gadhre Administrative Officer Legal, National Insurance Co. Ltd.

Collective Violence: Study of Understating

The society wants peace for living calmly we have decided several types of norms and with the help of law governments are taking care of our peace and security. The person who overrules these norms named as a criminal and the act as crime. There are many types of crimes in the society as theft, murder, robbery etc. that depends upon the need of the criminal and the prevailing society. The action of people decides the category of crime as individual or groups are indulge in the crime.

In this project I am dealing with the various aspects related to the collective violence, for this I have chosen different points for the explanation as the meaning of collective crime, its understanding, types, factors responsible for it and preventive measures etc. on basis of this I have built a conclusion and also added some opinions regarding the collective crime. At last I have given the bibliography for the sources from where I have taken help for making of this project.

Meaning of Collective Violence:

Collective violence receives a high degree of public attention. Violent conflicts between nations and groups, state and group terrorism, rape as a weapon of war, the movement of large numbers of people displaced from their homes, and gang warfare – all these occur on a daily basis in many parts of the world. The effects of these different types of event on health in terms of deaths, physical illness, disabilities and mental anguish are vast.

Collective violence may be defined as: the instrumental use of violence by people, who identify themselves as members of a group – whether this group is transitory or has a more permanent identity – against another group or set of individuals, in order to achieve political, economic or social objectives.

Types of Collective Violence:

The major forms of collective violence are riots, revolutions, terrorism, cult, militia, and hate groups. And they have born in different type of situations according to the factors behind them.

Factors Responsible For Collective Violence:

If we ask a question that how the collective violence emerges? A complete answer may come from a new social science theory regarding emotional sources of collective violence[1].

According to this theory, collective violence requires five steps:

The first is the chosen trauma. The defeat of Serbs by Turks at the battle of Kosovo in 1396 was the battle cry in the 1990s for ethnic cleansing of Moslems. Although the defeat occurred 600 years ago, it lived on in the minds and hearts of Serbians.
# The second step is that the injured group experiences the chosen trauma as a humiliation; they are ashamed of their defeat.
# The third step is the failure to mourn the losses sustained in the trauma, and face the painful emotions generated by the defeat.
# The fourth step is the feeling of entitlement to revenge. Rather than face the anguish of self-examination, a group distracts itself into self-righteous anger and aggression against a purported enemy. To avoid feeling shame, an “us-them” world is constructed. Even if no enemy is at hand, one can be fabricated in order to avoid one’s true feelings.
# The fifth step is collective regression. Under pressure of hidden emotions, a majority regresses to an early childhood mentality: mixtures of good and bad are unavailable. One’s parents and leaders are all good, and others are all bad because they are enemies. This kind of regression leads to violence.

The roots of violent conflict are generally deep and may be the result of long-standing tensions between groups. There are a number of factors that put states at risk of violent conflict. They include: a lack of democratic processes and unequal access to power. The risk is especially high when power stems from ethnic or religious identity, and when leadership is repressive and disposed to the abuse of human rights.

Social inequality marked by grossly unequal distribution of, and access to, resources. Conflict is most likely in situations where the economy is in decline, thus exacerbating social inequalities and intensifying competition for resources. Control by a single group of valuable natural resources, such as diamonds, oil, timber and drugs.

Rapid demographic change that outstrips the capacity of the state to provide essential services and job opportunities. Many of these risk factors can be identified before overt collective violence takes place.

Political factors:
— a lack of democratic processes; Violations of human rights Criminal behaviour by the state Corrupt governments;
— unequal access to power;
— political and economic power exercised and differentially applied according to ethnic or religious identity

Economic factors:
— unequal access to resources;
— Grossly unequal gains or losses between different population groups or geographical areas resulting from large economic changes;
— Massive economic transfers or losses over short periods of time;
— control over key natural resources;
— control over drug production or trading.
— Widening social and economic inequalities, especially those between, rather than within, distinct population groups.

Societal and community factors:
— inequality between groups;
— the fuelling of group fanaticism along ethnic, national or religious lines;
— the ready availability of small arms and other weapons.

Demographic factors:
— rapid demographic change;
— High rates of infant mortality;
— Rapid changes in population structure, including large-scale movements of refugees;
— Excessively high population densities;
— High levels of unemployment, particularly among large numbers of young people;
— Disputes over territory or environmental resources that are claimed by distinct ethnic groups.

Cycles of violent revenge:
— A continued cycle of violence between rival groups whether by geographical area, social class, religion, race or ethnicity – are important factors that can contribute to conflict between groups.

Many of these risk factors can be identified before overt collective violence takes place.

Understanding of Collective Violence:

There are five basic theories given for the understanding of collective violence. These theories provide the framework for understanding the events that are discussed later in project[2];

The first theory is presented is the Irrational and Rational approaches. Irrationality was the theory that people do not understand the consequences of their actions when in large groups or crowds. Rationality, discussed by Turner and Killian, is the belief that people that come together in groups begin to develop an emergent norm. This is the expectation that something violent may occur, but in a calculated manner. Psychologists such as Freud, Pareto, and LeBon all researched about irrationality.

The second theory discussed was possibly the most useful theory is the theory. This is the theory of Frustration-Aggression, or Relative Deprivation. This theory deals with trying to explain uprisings and violent action due to a person’s social standing. The theory has a few requirements. It says that a person first sees their place in society and is unhappy with it, because he or she sees the others around them living in better conditions. This leads to frustration. If a person remains in these conditions, or if they worsen, the frustration becomes worse. The theory then says that when a person is exposed to these conditions for an extended period of time, this could lead to aggressive behavior. This is especially true when a large group of people begin to feel the same way about their place in society.

This theory can be extremely useful for understanding revolutions. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was started by thousands of peasants who’d had enough of living in poverty while the government continued to live well. The eventual overthrow of the government was then a direct result of the feeling of frustration that led directly to aggressive behavior.

The third theory discussed was about the effect of social attachments. This theory deals with the influence of a person’s interaction with society on their potential for membership in violent groups. This theory, explained by William Kornhauser, says that people who have no attachments to society are more likely to join a group in order to have a sense of belonging. This theory could also be applied to militias and hate groups as well though. The example about the Heaven’s Gate cult makes a clear connection between cults and the social attachment theory. Also the Branch Davidian cult example makes a good case for the same theory. But while the theory of social attachments is good for explaining cult membership, it does not do much for militias and hate groups. These two forms of collective violence have a lot in common with terrorism.

The fourth theory is Smelser’s Structural Strain theory. There are many factors that must be present for this theory to work. The main factors of this theory are structural conduciveness, structural strain, generalized beliefs, precipitating factors, and mobilization for action. Structural conduciveness is simply a society’s government. Structural strain is any given problem that a society faces that the public must deal with. Generalized belief refers to people’s behavior and what is considered the norm.

The fifth theory is the theory of Resource Mobilization. This theory has a few basic elements. It says that collective action is more likely when a group’s resources are mobilized, such as time, money, and communications. This theory can be used to explain a few forms of collective violence.

Terrorism is one form of collective violence that can be used with this theory. There are four basic forms of terrorism that are discussed in the chapter: transnational, state, vigilante, and insurgent. All of these kinds of terrorism require the mobilization of vast resources in order to have a successful operation. Even state terrorism uses the resources of the people in order to keep down the population. But for any kind of terrorism to take place, it takes a lot of planning and time. People cannot organize without several resources. This theory emphasizes the importance of those resources.

This theory is the most important because it could provide some of the ways to stop terrorism for good. By looking at the roots of this theory, the police and law enforcement would be able to look at the causes and roots of terrorism.

The Consequences of Collective Violence

The impact of violent conflicts on health can be very great in terms of mortality, morbidity and disability. Increased mortality rates of civilians during violent conflicts are usually due to: injuries, decreased access to food, leading to poor nutrition increased risk of communicable diseases diminished access to health services reduced public health programmes poor environmental conditions psychosocial distress.

Impact on health
The impact of conflict on health can be very great in terms of mortality, morbidity and disability.

Infant mortality
In times of conflict, infant mortality generally increases. Preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus and diphtheria may become epidemic.

Mental health:
— anxiety,
— depression,
— post-traumatic stress disorder,
— suicidal behaviour.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Collective Violence:

# There are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent collective violence and – where it occurs – to lessen its impact. Some of the general policies needed to reduce the potential for violent conflicts include:
# Reducing poverty, both in absolute and relative terms, and ensuring that development assistance is targeted so as to make the greatest possible impact on poverty.
# Reducing inequality between groups in society.
# Reducing access to biological, chemical, nuclear and other weapons.
# Ensuring the promotion and application of internationally agreed treaties, including those relating to human rights.
# National governments can help prevent conflicts by upholding the spirit of the United Nations Chapter, which calls for the prevention of aggression and the promotion of peace and security. At a more detailed level, this involves adhering to international legal instruments, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Protocols.
# Investing in health development can contribute to the prevention of violent conflict. A strong emphasis on social services can help maintain social cohesion and stability.
# Early manifestations of situations that can lead to conflicts can often be detected in the health sector.
# Health care workers have a significant role to play in drawing attention to these signs and in calling for appropriate social and health interventions.
# Various measures need to be taken to prevent the occurrence of conflict and – where it does occur to lessen its impact. These measures fall into the following broad categories:
— obtaining more extensive information and a better understanding of conflicts;
— taking political action to predict, prevent and respond to conflicts;
— peacekeeping activities.

Cases Related To It:
The first story[3] is of a village Jamdehi at Betul district in M.P.
1. Here in this village in the year 1992 there were five brothers who were indulge in several type of crimes like theft, hafta vasuli, illegal control over the fields, frightening others, theft of electricity and wood etc. means they were creating complete threat for the villagers.

2. The villagers called for the Panchayat. There at the Panchayat the Sarpanch had ordered them to stop all these things or to leave the village.

3. They have given no response in respect of this order.

4. When the things became so violent that the villagers were not able to control them then they have decided to go for some tough actions. They gone to their house and told them to stop their illegal actions but they fought with villagers and during that three of them were killed, one had run away and fifth one had been saved in the hospital.

5. On basis of the witness the police had made accused to eleven persons but three of them were released and others were put behind the bars for life imprisonment.

The second story[4] is of the village Khapa at Betul district in M.P.; here the story is of the year 2005 and facts are almost similar as the previous case.
1. There were seven brothers and they were all indulge in the similar kind of activities as we have seen in above case. But the treatment they have got is totally different.
2. Villagers complained to police but here police has not taken any action against them
3. When the water gone above the nose then the villagers decided to go against them and one day they have burnt the houses of those brothers, but unfortunately the brothers saved themselves and three of the wives been dead.
4. Several villagers accused and the government has sent the brothers to Betul, but they were indulge there also in criminal activities so sent back to the village. After sometime they have been sent to Amla in some railway quarters but on complaint of the local people they again sent back to village.
5. They again started the crime against the whole village.
6. One day some unknown persons have killed two of the brothers when they were coming back from their sister’s house.
7. Again police has caught villagers and put them behind the bars, every youngster who is adult has been treated as accused and the condition now is near about 60% of males are behind the bars.
8. Police is there in the village to maintain peace and case is going on in the court.

On basis of all above points we can conclude many things regarding the collective violence, as the definition tells us that the collective violence is the action of a definite group, we can say these groups can be for anything depends upon the mentality of the members and the cause behind the formation of those groups. The formation of groups and the emergence of the collective violence can be understood by the theories we have seen in the point Understanding of collective violence where we have seen several reasons behind different types of collective violence and also some of the suggestions given by different thinkers. We can see in this project report the different types of collective crimes and the factors responsible for this. We can also see how the society suffers at large at last after every action taken by a particular group in the society, no matter the action is against whom. As the children suffers, women suffers that we can see in the cases I have discussed above where the male members are in jail and the females are working in the fields with their children, there is the lack of time for them to take proper care of their children and also suffering by economic problems so they must have to work at any cost. Similar things happen after any group crime because somebody has to pay the cost. We can see it in the point Consequences. I have discussed some of the preventive measures for the stopple of collective violence that I have got from various sources and given my opinion regarding collective crime.

In my opinion the collective violence is some kind of revolution against the present society or that emerges due to the conflict between thoughts. The collective violence can be of either type lawful or illegal but we have to look what is the reason behind the crime of this type. As we can take example of these two stories where in both of these cases we can see that almost 80% of the facts are similar and we have to see who is wrong? No doubt the villagers has taken a wrong decision to kill them but can we see towards the other side of the coin where they were suffering a lot and not getting any help from police or other authorities. The acts of brothers were not legal at all and also of the villagers but in my opinion since there was a need to take some tough decision and that they have taken. Definitely it is no the solution to go against the law but what anybody can do if he is not getting any help from the law but we can prevent these kind of collective violence by taking the measures we have discussed above. In my view the best way to eradicate the collective violence is to find the root cause for which the people have joined and remove that cause by talking with the group or remove it by the way of law, same as the government taking action in case of Naxals.

Searching for Emotions Behind Collective Violence: By Thomas Scheff.
Collective Violence and the Making of Civil Society: India in European Perspective, by; Mitra Subrata Kumar
Barkan’s and Snowden’s Collective Violence
Theories of collective violence, by; Barkan and Snowden
Group problem in crime and punishment (1998), by; karl mannhaeim, routledge, London
2 Searching for Emotions Behind Collective Violence, By; Thomas Scheff.
[2] Theories of collective violence, by; Barkan and Snowden.
[3] Facts based on the talk with villagers and one of the victims.
[4] Facts based on the talk with villagers

The author can be reached at: gadhre@legalserviceindia.com

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