West and East: The Culture of Violence and Social Emotions

West and East: The Culture of Violence and Social Emotions

Autors: Octavian Rujoiu, Valentina Rujoiu

Year of appearance: 2010

ISBN: 978-606-505-328-1

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This paper presents and examines from an intercultural perspective, the norms, values and patterns specific to the collectivist and individualistic societies in the context of gender relations event. From this perspective, stereotypes and prejudices are highlighted existent in relations of power. The way we see sexuality is decisively influenced by culture, social organization and religion. Thus we can understand the “algorithm” of the institutionalization of sexism and its proliferation in any society as well as the crystallization and expression of social emotions. Swinging between public and private space was the arena in which we examined the culture of violence bringing into question its extreme forms and characteristics.

                                                                                                                  Octavian Rujoiu and Valentina Rujoiu


Excerpt from book introduction (translated):

Over time, the evolution of society has shown that violence has gained cultural, economic and social valences. All forms of aggression influence both the individual and his private life and the social macro system. In this context, it is necessary to elaborate a hypothesis favoring oscillation of violence between public space and private space. What are the levers that allow the direct approach and coverage of anti-social acts carried out in the public sphere and ignoring, even denying the existence of actual crimes occurring behind the closed doors of private property? The phrase “we are not interested, it's a family business” affects our ability to feel and live alongside and together with the victims? The social emotions (for example, shame, embarrassment, guilt, and so on) can also be triggers for public reaction against the prevalence of violence that has managed to develop a true culture based on stereotypes, beliefs, norms, attitudes supported by the powerful social entities: religion, justice and family. Therefore, how can we explain the controversy between public and private when we want to investigate from a psycho-sociological perspective, the factors that fuel future expansion of a culture that tends to become an empire putting possession on the most valuable creature of the Creator that has been compared to a “meditating cane”? We are only perhaps left with the question, of who has the right chance or opportunity to begin and to end the universal dichotomy: harmony vs. violence.

In chapter 1, we started from an overview of domestic violence focusing on violence against women in intimate relationships but also against men, in particular, husband abuse which is a reality and not a myth. A central element of our demonstrations stands in analyzing the underlying causes of the emergence of such behaviors. The movie made by the American television CBS, Men Don’t Tell (1993), details the traumas undergone by the married man. He is rebuked by his own father because “he knew not how to ‘control’ his wife”. Notwithstanding the remarks made by his father, the son retorts: “Are you saying I’m less of a man because a woman hits me, because I don’t hit her back?” (apud Cook, 1997/2009, 57).  We are wondering how many men are found in such a situation, even in Romania? 

Of the many forms of violence against women, we headed our attention in Chapter 2, on marital rape. The comparative perspective conducted here focuses on the following: “marital rape” versus “unwanted sexual intercourse”, the psycho-sociological analysis of rape in the context of marriage, the typology of marital rapist, and the social and legal incrimination in different cultures. There are also cases in Romania that arise, but are not as well-known as the ones from United States, because they are not made public. Why? One answer would be difficult to administer. Probably because of the ambiguities from the present legislation or because is not known by most providers of social services (doctors, policemen, and in some cases, social workers). No less true is the fact that social perception is one that favors male status in society but also in private spaces such as family. That is why some women remain dependent to mentalities that should be long gone. In Chapter 3, all these things are discussed on the following levels: legal incrimination of this form of domestic violence, traumas and the effects of marital rape among persons interviewed. Reading this chapter, some women will find themselves in the cases and situations presented here. Others will not. We believe that the most important is to realize the situation they find themselves in and ask for help. Those who consider that “nothing of this sort can happen to me", they should always remain anchored in the reality because, most of the times, “life beats the movie”.

Whether discussing of the social or private space, we realize of how important and relevant they are, both for us and for those with whom we interact, the emotions we convey. Shame, embarrassment and guilt are emotions that we examine in Chapter 4 with regard to their social implications. Seriously is that, amid perceptions and attitudes, cultural norms and strict rules, there are extreme forms of violence such as murder committed in the name of honor. Shame involves, often, the feeling of honor. The existent relationship between the two concepts, we detail in Chapter 5.

The Virginia Tech School, April 16th, 2007. Seung-Hiu Cho, a 23-year old South Korean – with permanent residence in the United States, killed 32 students and hurt others using two firearms. After the massacre, he committed suicide. It had been “the worst mass murder in American history" (apud Hagan, 2010, 109-110). In what circumstances do such events occur? Who are the perpetrators? From these considerations outlined above, in Chapters 6 and 7 we are discussing about violent behavior from the perspective of homicide and having regard to its features, but also highlighting traditional and modern methods of investigation. Also, we analyze the concepts of psychopathy, sadism, paraphilia and homicidal fantasies based on various types of criminals and aggressors.


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