Theoretical Approaches to Violence

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The Frustration-Aggression hypothesis was, for me, the most interesting and relevant of those covered in the previous unit. I found this theory most provocative and timely because it would seem to address some of the more pressing issues of our time; namely, the manner in which Islamic cultures promote violence as a means of liberation through the Q’uaran’s notion of “holy war” or Jihad. It is important to understand the foundations of modern Jihad in the war in Judaism and Islam if we are to take the steps necessary to stem its tide.

The Frustration-Aggression hypothesis suggests that violence will be promoted above and beyond the level typically associated with civility where one’s aims are frustrated. In so doing, sub-cultures will promote violence as a means of attaining certain benefits, thereby justifying the use of force in the interest of some ostensibly greater socio-cultural cause. For the Islamic religion and culture, Jihad serves a liberational purpose, as they perceive diplomatic means to have not served their interests in the past. To this end, it seems rational to promote violence as a means of attaining some global independence and this use of physical force is justified as no other means of attainment is available. This perception logically results in the irrational justification of physical violence.

The Frustration-Aggression hypothesis presents an important means of understanding the often irrational attempts at global sub-cultures to justify the use of physical violence as a means of achieving things that they believe cannot otherwise be achieved through less violent means.