Sample Paper on Culture and Violence

Men and women engulf in some specific economic practices to cope up with poverty such as preferring drug dealing with mainstream values. Actually, the increasing number and proportions of families and individuals languishing in poverty play an important role in understanding how these families adapt to adversity.“In search of respect: selling crack in El Barrio”, is a book authored by Philippe Bourgois, where he narrates of ordeals experienced living in East Harlem as they outline some economic strategies people indulge into due to poverty.

Firstly, Bourgois talks of selling cocaine “crack” through a retail network which is an illegal drug. Ray who is the mastermind of the dealings is considered as an illiterate who rose from the streets as a poor guy. He wanted to experiment with various ways that would make him money and get out of the poverty cocoon. As a result, various people are employed by Ray making the network of illegal businesses considerably wide. All the people involved in this business form a culture characterized by their illegal business.

Secondly, Bourgois reviews the issue of money laundering as a social impact that arises in an economically deprived society.  In fact, money laundering goes hand in hand with illegal drug trafficking as the drug barons seek to establish a cover-up in how they make their money. The third issue observed in the book is racial profiling and stereotyping. Bourgois was constantly stopped by police due to his ethnicity. In such incidences, drug dealing is preferred to mainstream values due to its rapid outcomes. There is easy money in the business and few regulations when entering the business.

  1. Anthropologists argue that violence is culturally construed rather than genetically involved. Violence is culturally institutionalized and it is based on the thinking of human beings and not in genetics. As mentioned earlier, culture represents a way of thinking that is upheld by a particular group of people. As a result of this, self-control is largely based on societal justification or group identity. In simple terms, violence may occur as people try to reclaim or protect their alleged resources, achieving a certain status in society, revenge, or even for religious justification. For example, Kohistani in the mountains northwest of Pakistan follows a code that demands vengeance against any threat towards a man’s honor. In current events, civil wars erupt due to power-hungry and corrupt individuals whose main aim is accessing public resources. They dupe everyone into thinking that violence is the only way to reclaim resources, attain honor, or fulfill their religious calling. Basically, it all ends up with the notion that violence is culturally constructed.
  2. Small-scale cultures engaged in violent behaviors often seek justification through some ideological reasoning. Some cultures such as Kohistani found in Pakistan believe that honor is a gift from God that should be protected. They believe that every man is granted the gift of honor at birth and it is his right to guard it. Another justification lies on the political front where people tend to identify themselves with a certain political arena. In this case, people have the perspective that only a certain individual can help or them or there are certain benefits attribute to leaning on one political front. This can result in violence as people seek any means that their incumbent candidate can rise to power. Such beliefs possess the power to shape how people integrate with each other.
  3. First World Development Programs have varied impacts on society, some of which have been highlighted by Bourgios’ “In search of respect: selling crack in El Barrio” one of the significant social impacts raised in the book is diversity. East Harlem is occupied by Spaniards and Mexicans and it is located in the United States of America. This can be associated with the positive environment for immigration. Among the negative impacts realized include education dropouts and high illiteracy levels despite the presence of formal institutions. Bourgiosconfesses that he would collect school-age reminiscences of the crack dealers in Ray’s network who had a difficult relationship with the institutions. Additionally, the book points out another social limitation of powerless fathers in the community. All the men employed in Ray’s drug net were fathers and they could not meet their responsibilities. They also put their families at great risk of spoiling their future and incarceration.
  4. Rhetoric basically refers to the mode or artifacts of communication such as words, images, gestures, body language among others used to convey a message to the audience. The main concern of rhetoric lies in the impact that these artifacts contribute to the message being communicated. It can be described as a language that is designed to have a persuasive effect on its audience and it may lack sincerity or basic truth. For example, Human Rights Watch released a documentary “cluster Munitions” by the Assad regime that has been rhetoric in the U.S. for over a decade. There have been claims of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction in Syria and other Middle East communities. These have remained to be assumptions as no claims alleged have been verified. This creates a perception that people from those areas are prone to violence and disregard human rights. Such perspective has been used to the continued war in Syria due to the rhetoric of chemical weapons cliché. However, the war may be of good reasons but should not rely on rhetoric.
  5. Western industrialization refers to the period of economic and social transformation that began in Western Europe and North America from the 1600s around the 1800s. British East India Company (EIC) is one of the industries that are viewed to have aided in achieving western industrialization. It was established to pursue trade with East Indies but later traded with India and China. It was owned by a company of merchants where the government had no direct control or shares in the company. This made the organization to be so strong that it colonized India using private armies and had the largest production of tea, cotton, silk, salt, and opium among other commodities. EIC expanded all over East and South Asia by defeating and removing Spaniards and Protégées from these areas becoming a trade monopoly. Due to its large size, EIC began using formal organization structures such as executive officers and permanent employees. They also saw the need to innovate on methods that would make production efficient. That is when they formed a partnership with the government leading to a revolution in industries.
  6. Yir-Yoront is Australian inhabitants who live in the Cape York Peninsula and are known for their old stone age culture. The initiation of the steel ax indiscriminately and in large numbers into the Yir Yoront technology by the missionaries occurred simultaneously with many other changes. One of the changes experienced was modes of acquiring the steel axes. Previously, the Yir-Yoront would trade a stone ax for something else but the steel axes meant they had to impress the missionary to be given as a gift. The availability of steel axes from the missionaries meant that women and children could gain axes that were traditionally meant for men. Steel axes broke traditional trade partners and relationships as they would acquire them easily.
  7. Most of the anthropologist Richard Robbins’ researches are based on the consumer ideology as a way of life. He describes capitalism as a culture that succeeded in accommodating various individuals in relative and absolute comfort and luxury. He argues that some social problems such as health issues have been addressed by the invention of medicine that was facilitated by the capitalist culture. It preserves the rights of hard-working people and rewards efforts by encouraging hard work in society.


  1. Culture has kept on diversifying over the last 100, 000 years, and various scholars have explained this phenomenon. White and Morgan are some of the anthropologists who defined culture change over the years. They described the change as a developmental staircase that happened in stages. Actually, White was vehemently against the Boasian school of thought and viewed the world as divided into cultural, biological, and physical levels of the phenomenon. He argued that culture is distinctive from cultures as what people of a certain area thought differed from people from a different geographical location. Morgan and White argue that human activities changed as a response to their demands; hence, the changes could not be equated across the globe. Each change happens depending on the demands a certain people are exposed to at a specific time.