Anthropological Approaches to War and Violence


AnthropologicalApproaches to War and Violence

AnthropologicalApproaches to War and Violence

Thehallmark of anthropology brings out the holistic perspective thatexamines the existence aspects of humankind and the dynamicinterrelationship with culture and society. War and violenceanthropological approaches, in particular, focus on the assumedorientation on the relationship between human nature and violencewhich can be either internal or external (Bourgois, 2010). War andviolence are an ultimate product of lack of control of unusualimpulses. They represent natural drives, which have to be dealt andrepressed by society in any instance of its survival.

Oneway to imagine anthropology of war and violence is to identify thekind of mapping of the different moral and aesthetic evaluations ofthe various actions of people, in different contexts on the bodies ofothers. The fact that violence is not individual or social but ratherpre-eminently collective antisocial, it is culturally structured andinterpreted. Bourgois (2010), argues that the anthropology ofviolence and war becomes part of a novel sector of anthropology, inwhich the body transforms into a fortunate site for the imprinting ofpower signs. The construct of war and violence can be either sociallymotivated normally for identification or intrinsically structuredprimarily speared towards the acquisition of power.

Relationshipbetween Violence and Gender

Thecorrelation between violence and sex is complicated, wherebyprimarily power and superiority tends to bond violence with gender.The collection of sex and violence is a norm developed from thecompulsive heterosexuality, which implies that one demonstratesheterosexuality to establish a masculine identity. Dominance andsubmissiveness tend to be the primary link of achieving masculinity(Nunn, 2012). Fundamentally in the world, the premise of masculinityis considered normative when males dominate over females. Theultimate desire of dominance over the other individual usually hasfar-reaching catastrophic implications. The structure of dominanceusually is a construct of socialization of a given gender to definetheir identity and self-worth upon their ability to convince andcoerce another gender to accept whatever they desire or command.

Studiesdone on the issue indicate that males perpetrate the vast majority ofsexualized and gendered abuse experienced by females. Thesesituations are often socialized as most people believe that toexhibit masculinity men must be dominant over women. For instance, inthe article Understanding inner- city poverty, Caesar’s brutalitythrough public ranting and ravings, violence is celebrated as goodpublic relations. The overall goal of the action is obtaining ageneral perception on the central lucidities and exteriorconstrictions on the way procedures unfold while simultaneouslyrealizing that cultures and traditional meanings are disjointed anddiverse (Bourgois, 2010).

HowGender Norms and Hierarchies Are Reshaped and Mobilized In Contextsof Violence

Thegender norms, typically are structured by the culture of a givensociety. In this respect, culture comprises of the idiosyncraticdivine, measureable, logical and passionate features that illustratea society or a social cluster. Gender norms are usually centered onconceptions of femininity and masculinity (Bourgois, 2010). Usually,children acquire gender roles and stereotypes from their caregiversand the living environment. In a conventional view, males are trainedto apply their masculinity to dominate the social environment throughphysical strength or dexterity while women learn to presentthemselves as beautiful objects to be viewed upon and admired.

Theexistence of masculine and feminine cultures, relatively defineoverlapping social roles of the sexes, whereby men are required toexhibit assertive, energetic, and competitive behaviors. In suchpatriarchal cultures, women are expected to serve and care forchildren, their families, and the weak (Gilmore, 1999). From theseperspectives, men tend to rule over women, resulting in contexts,whereby women must accept the demands or commands of males and if notthe females are usually violated. Additionally, this is seen in theinner-city poverty article, which elaborates that in situations wheremen fail to be useful heads of their households, rapid structuraltransformations of their generations are witnessed. Mostly, this isas a dramatic assault on their sense of masculine dignity, in theworst case scenario, as ineffective males are viewed as economicfailures that cannot look after their families. Thus, to cover upfor their inability in this cultural duty, they tend to depict theirmasculinity against women and children since they can no longerinfluence them economically or manage them ideologically (Nunn,2012).

Compareand Differentiate the Treatment of Gender in the Two Articles(Globalization and U.S. Prison Growth and Inner-City Poverty)

Thetwo articles bring out the aspect of imprisonment of both sexes, whowere found trading on drugs. For instance, in the article inner-citypoverty section, the fifty-five-years-old mother, and her twenty-twoyears old daughter were arrested bagging twenty-one pounds of cocaineinto ten dollar quarter-gram. Likewise, the same aspect is seen inthe article about globalization, which state4s that 25% of AfricanAmerican men and women were imprisoned, drugs being the centralcontrolling offense (Gilmore, 1999).

Secondly,in the two articles the strength of femininity and masculinity areidentified. For example, in the inner-city poverty report, themajority of the superintendents within the lowest echelons of theservice sector are women. It adds that in some cultures, societyforbids males from welcoming public subordination across gender lines(Bourgois, 2010). Moreover, in the piece about globalization, thewriters explain that in certain professions, men secured work readilyand automatically, while females had to apply and compete for suchpositions (Gilmore, 1999). The inner-city article authors warn thatmales, who are no longer competent heads of their households, oftenundergo radical structural transformations of their generations, asthey are exposed to dramatic assaults on their sense of masculinedignity.


Bourgois,P. (2010). UnderstandingInner-City Poverty: Resistance and Self-Destruction under U.S.Apartheid,inFor the MacClancy Exotic_No_More_Anthropology_on_the_Front_Lines(1).pp.15-32.

Gilmore,W. R. (1999). Globalization and U.S. prison growth: from militaryKeynesianism to post-Keynesianmilitarism. RaceClass,40:171. DOI: 10.1177/030639689904000212.

Nunn,N. (2012). Culture and the historical process. EconomicHistory of Developing Regions,27(sup1), S108-S126.