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Presentation Handout Identity &Violence Group 3 Essay

1453 words - 6 pages

Identity and Violence may seem isolated from each other on a superficial level, but on a deeper analysis both seem to depend on each other. To put in a different way, just as long-stagnant water can give birth to deadly mosquitoes, similarly a logged and rigid definition of identity may lead to violence which could be similar to Aedes. To briefly explain this analogy it’s essential to refer to Charles Taylor who argued that identity is shaped in three ways:-

1) Recognition of identity

2) Absence of identity

3) Misrecognition of identity.

All three modes of shaping identity have the potential to bring out violence which is latent. Here, Sigmund Freud’s idea of human instincts being of two kinds: those that conserve and unify and, the instincts to destroy and kill is very significant. These instincts work according to the motive, when individual works for their ‘motive’ that is of shaping the identity leads to use of violent means and ends mostly.

Our presentation will include Terrell A. Northup idea of identity as a system of beliefs or a way of construing the world that makes life predictable rather than random. This way, he conceptualizes that social constructs of an identity become so entrenched that the conflict surfaces as violence. The identity first takes the form of threat, which later gets distorted and extremely rigid and ultimately colludes in maintaining the conflict.

Thus, it can be said that, identity is central; almost core to individuals and their sense of connectedness to themselves and the society-scope they engage in. Kriesberg examines how there is a formation of not only one's own, but also a sense of identity of the other, which further reinforces the self. Though identities can be both 'ascribed' and 'achieved', they are still in nexus with an entire group; who imbibe the institutions of common history, fate and future that brings them together; even in face of smaller individual differences.

Sometimes, these identities can become so definitive, that they are absolutely uncompromisable by the group, often because they internalize being treated with special respect and honor. Historical associations to victimhood can also contribute to this sense of combined and discriminated identity, through the stages of conflict arousal, escalation and imminent levels of intractability. There are however, possibilities of curative and policy measures on multiple levels that can first; remove the ambit of insolubility from the conflict, and then devise methods of transforming it

The riots between Hindus and Muslims that took place in Muzzafarnagar in August – September ’13 albeit recent, have the characteristics of a potentially intractable conflict. Solutions are being resisted, intensifying features that do not relate to the original cause are persistent and attempts to harm the other party continue. Both Louis Kriesberg...


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