Sappho in Wonderland

2008 SF Bay Area, or 1939 Berlin?

Posts Tagged ‘violentization


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[I found this on the blog Sailom’s Philosphy. The article was removed from Wikipedia over my objections. This is a VERY important concept. Not everyone can afford to buy the book and my town doesn’t even have libraries anymore. Thank you Sailom!]

Violentization – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Violentization is a process described by criminologist Lonnie Athens whereby individuals are inured and trained to commit violence. Athens’ research suggests individuals’ paths to violence almost always involve social conditioning to favor violent resolutions for social situations.

The process Athens described whereby individuals are socialized to prefer violent outcomes, as detailed in Why They Kill, by Richard Rhodes, (Vintage Books, 1999), includes four stages he classified as brutalization, belligerency, violent performance and virulence.

Athens wrote, “Any person who does ultimately complete the virulency stage, and consequently the entire experiential process, will become a dangerous violent criminal. This remains the case regardless of the social class, race, sex or age and intelligence of people, as long as their degree of mental and physical competence is sufficient for them to perform a violent criminal act.”

For each stage of Athens posited violentization process, he describes the following methods and circumstances that effect an individuals perception of violence:

->Brutalization: a process where a social group forcibly subjugates an individual.
—>Violent subjugation: an individual is forced into compliance by physical or verbal force, upto and including violence. Coercive violence ends at submission, but retaliatory violence continues regardless submission, ostensibly to gain long-term submission.
—>Personal horrification: an individual is exposed to violent subjugation of someone else close to them. The person begins to suffer inner conflict over guilt associated with helplessness.
—>Violent coaching: a person advises the brutalized individual to depend only on his or her self, encourages defensiveness and that they have a personal responsibility to commit violence. Coaching might include:
—–>Vainglorification: violence is glorified through story telling.
—–>Ridicule: violence is promoted by derision and belittling.
—–>Coercion: threats of violence if the individual does not comply with violent coaching.
—>An individual decides to resist brutalization
—>Overcoming contrary emotions that discourage violence
—>Mitigated commitment to violence such as in response to provocation
—>First mitigated resolution by violence
->Violent performances
—>Confidence building through successful violent acts
—>Provocation rises above mitigated threshold of violent commitment
—>Success in personal revolt against a subjugator leads to increased personal safety
—>Recollection and appreciation of violent performance, often with the assistance of others
—>Gaining a reputation as a violent and potentially dangerous person
—>Personal vainglorification: a person enjoys the violent reputation and fear it provokes
—>Personal resolution to set a lower mitigating threshold for violence

External links
An Interview with Richard Rhodes
Court TV
The Process of Violentization
Retrieved from “

Written by berkeleysappho

February 1, 2008 at 7:01 pm