My Final Reflection

Throughout this course, I have learned a lot, I have been able to challenge and question things I thought I knew while at the same time being able to grasp knowledge from various points-of-view on the subject of violence.

I began the course with the notion that violence is a topic which teeters on the line, falling inside the grey area rather than being a definite black or white on the spectrum. Even with the amount of grounds we have covered in this class I still believe that violence is a somewhat complicated topic to discuss, there is always a “well it depends on the circumstances” moment instead of a universal agreement on the term in every given situation. What we label as violent may differ based on who you ask, when you ask, and how you ask.

At the beginning of this course, I thought that I had a pretty good idea about what violence was and the different types of violence but I didn’t realize how frequently violence actually occurs around me while I unintentionally turn a blind eye. Now I realize that, at the time, I did not understand whether or not it was my place to consider that an act of violence and call it out as well as I did not notice or consider some of the acts I have witnessed as violent ones.

Throughout this course we observed many different examples that made me re-examine what I thought I knew. The movie that stood out to me the most was the Stanford Prison Experiment. This experiment dealt with how people take on specific roles in society, such as authoritative and working class. Participants in the experiment were assigned different roles, one being prison guards and the other being prisoners. After a couple of hours the participants in the experiment took their roles to a whole new level. Eventually the “pretend” guards got rid of any sympathy they had for the “fake” prisoners and treated them so poorly that some of the prisoners wanted to quit the experiment. The participants who took on the prison guard roles became so self-absorbed in their position they turned into a completely different individual. Taking on a alter-ego. After watching this movie I was able to see how a title can take over how an individual acts. Not only did the jail guards take their roles too far but the prisoners went into a completely different mental state. If you look at the experiment from a social perspective, you can see that not all of the guards were for the inappropriate treatment but they continued to go along with it. Ultimately succumbing to social conformity. They did not always participate in the mistreatment but they did not do anything to stop it. This shows how individuals step down when it comes to authority because we grow up to see authority as the power in society.

What was also brought to my attention in this course was about sexual violence. I knew it was an issue but when we had the last discussion of the course and there was a timer that went off very frequently reminding us[students] about the sexual assaults that happen around us while we are carrying on with our lives, it was a eye-opener and actually very sad to think about. Presentations that occurred in class regarding the subject did a great job to inform and bring attention to the subject. 
After taking this class, I have learned numerous things about violence and it has really broadened my perspective. I can now apply what I have learned in this class with everyday situations that happen not only in the media but also in my everyday life. Violence, power and psychology connect in ways that people can not always fully comprehend. People will do anything they can to have the power in society and if that concludes in violence, then they will do whatever they can. That’s not say that there are people who do not believe in this way of thought but when put into certain situations where you can have all this power by stepping over people it is evident, like in the prison experiment, that some people will conform to society’s roles. Having taken this class, I have been questioning more situations with evidence of violence, and why we do the things we do while excusing other instances. I have become more aware of my surroundings when it comes to the topics discussed in class.