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Culture of Violence

According to many theories, violence occurs when there is a breakdown in the social order and norms are no longer strong enough to rein in individuals’ aggressive impulses. However, in a culture of violence, the opposite is true. Thus, in a culture of violence, aggression is often considered legitimate or even required by social norms.

The label “culture of violence” is usually a misnomer for what anthropologists call a “culture of honor.” This distinction in terms is crucial in many cases, because “culture of violence” implies a culture in which any sort of violence is acceptable, whereas “culture of honor” implies a culture in which there are social norms that define some sorts of violence (and not simply any violence) as legitimate. People outside an honor ...

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