by Jennifer Contreras
Violence, inequality and human freedom were the topics discussed by Indiana University Professor Of Sociology and Criminology, Peter Iadicola on March 8 in La Fetra Auditorium.
The Associated Students Federation (ASF) Forum Advocacy Board hosted the speaking event to highlight issues of violence and the various types of violence that go unnoticed.
Iadicola presented a PowerPoint presentation on violence and its effects on inequality and human freedom. These are the topics in his most recent publication, which is properly titled, “Violence, Inequality and Human Freedom.” Iadicola studied at St. Johns College in New York and at the University of California at Riverside.
Iadicola was introduced by Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of La Verne, Deborah Burris-Kitchen, who was a student of Iadicola at Indiana University. Iadicola served as a mentor for Burris-Kitchen.
“It was great having him here being an ex-mentor of mine. He is the one who influenced me to become a sociologist, his perspective on sociology was intriguing to me,” said Burris-Kitchen.
With an audience of more than 40 students and faculty, Iadicola presented his study of violence. The definition of violence as Iadicola defines it is:
“Violence is any action, inaction or structural arrangement. Violence must be willfully or deliberately committed or condoned by an actor or agents of the actor. Violence can be intended or unintended.
“Violence is violence whether it is justified or unjustified as defined by either the actors or the audience to the action,” he said.
Iadicola analyzed and explained the different types of violence. Violence as a form of power, according to Iadicola, is exercised to serve as a control over social structures and acts of rebellion that may threaten a social structure. Iadicola went on to say that his type of violence is more likely to occur within the context of hierarchical social forms or structures.
Iadicola presented three main categories that violence can fall under, Interpersonal Violence, Institutional Violence and Structural Violence. Structural violence. Pollution is a type of a structural violence.
“Those who are poorer are more likely to live near pollution. Companies realize that the dumping of chemicals will be hazardous to people. That is inequality. That is violence,” said Iadicola.
Iadicola went on to explain where religion, family, economics and the state can fall into violence as a means of action.
“State violence includes police brutality. The United Nations passed a treaty that bans torturing by police. The United States was one of the last countries to sign the treaty. So it is an issue here and all over the world. In Argentina, more than 15,000 people died over four years because they posed a ‘threat’ to state security. They sedated these people, and pushed them out of planes,” he said.
According to Iadicola, these violations of human freedom go unnoticed because they are covered by the state and those at the head of a social structure.
“The United States has been involved in training and arming death squads. We don’t see the international linkages or support of violence that occurs in places like Colombia or El Salvador, we only see things like rape and murder that go on here,” said Iadicola.
Iadicola offered a solution through education for these injustices. His philosophy is that by increasing the choices that people have, the less violence we will have. Also, by questioning the schooling or education system and the nature that creates violence, and ask the question, “is it really serving its students or is it setting them up for violence?”
“I’m an educator, and I believe that through education people can change. If I can make people aware, of at least economic violence, that can produce changes to reduce violence,” said Iadicola
After the presentation, there was a series of questions and answers and discussion on the issues at hand.
“I thought the presentation was interesting. People never think about violence in those ways. You see the news and here about gang shootings, rape, murder, but you never think about the causes for these acts of violence and you certainly never hear about the violence that is corporate or economical,” said senior Liberal Studies major, Darla Franklin.
In closing, Iadicola said that awareness is the key and it is crucial, especially in an institution of higher education, that people seek the truth about injustices that occur all around us. He said, “Awareness, for me, is the first step.”