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Sociology term paper sample


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Topic: Sociology on terror: How does violence turn the body into a sign?
Order type: Term Paper
Subject: Sociology
Academic level: Undergraduate
Style: CU Harvard
Language: English US
Pages: 6 (double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 Font)
Sources: 6

Published in: News & Politics
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Sociology term paper sample

  1. 1. 1 Topic: Sociology on terror: How does violence turn the body into a sign? Order type: Term Paper Subject: Sociology Academic level: Undergraduate Style: CU Harvard Language: English US Pages: 6 (double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 Font) Sources: 6 Written by Task Details How does violence turn the body into a sign? Discuss by drawing on the theories, concepts and topics from existing literature. Use examples to illustrate your argument.
  2. 2. 2 Sociology on Terror Name Course code Instructor Institution City/State Date
  3. 3. 3 Introduction The essay will focus on how violence turns the body into sign through different means from personal pains such as torture to the widespread discomfort such as terrorism. Before the evaluation of the topic, it is vital to examine deeply into what terror means and its significance on the sociological aspect. There are two forms, which include the international and domestic terrorism. The global violence involves activities that have the following characteristics: the act of hostility towards human life against the state law. It is mainly intended to intimidate the civilian population or coerce the government on the formation of its policies. It occurs outside the territorial jurisdiction of a particular country. The domestic terrorism resembles the international terror attacks except that it occurs primarily in a given territorial jurisdiction (Diane Publishing Company 2009: 2). The Politic of Atrocity Terrorism inflicts pain on the victims, thus, causing physical or psychological harm on their bodies. It forms a kind of torture on the victims’ body to enable the perpetrators of the act to realize their objectives. Scarry (1985: 29) lists the ideas on which the body can become a source of political meaning since pain destroys the language. When one uses violence to inflict aches; it translates into a terror attack. Torments in the body can be used to silence an individual, meaning its importance can be appropriated, given the injured body can be used to substantiate belief (Scarry 1985: 29). The picture of the wounded body through the act of terrorism becomes detached from the meaning of the victims and instead turns out to be a source of cultural implication or a political sign.
  4. 4. 4 Most of the acts of terrorism evident in the parts of the world are on some individual objectives, which include the political or selfish interest of particular groups. Among the important goals of the post-enlightenment and modern state are homogenization, conformity and assimilation within narrow political or ethnic range, as well as the creation of some societal agreement about the kind of persons they are or ought to be. Therefore, any resistance is managed so that separation, coup, and revolution are unthinkable for most of the people. The government or state try to ensure conformity to encompassing some unitary images through different cultural forms and a variety of activities and institutions that control the range of available political, ethnic, national and social identities (Nagengast 1994: 109). The terrorist used violence as the strategy of intervention in the relationship between the feelings and meaning through the infliction of pain. The body that has been subjected to agony through the acts of extremism is ready for symbolization and politicization. It is because the body that has suffered from violence act as an interface between peace or violence and war. In this regard, the victims of the act can easily be manipulated to the best interest of the perpetrators of the terrorism (Nagengast 1994:115). For instance, the government could easily give in to the demands of the terrorist when the people are killed or injured through violence. Therefore, the body of the subjects could have been used to convey the message to the relevant authorities who were supposed to surrender politically or economically. The central issue of any form of violence is the cause of death or the extinction of individuals. Terror is utilized as a political instrument that is after addressing a particular feature of man’s existential reality and our ability as social beings. People are mortal, and our demise
  5. 5. 5 should be meaningful. Thus, pain is hard to be expressed in mere words. The strategy of violence is the only way to inflict discomfort on the body, destroying the interior and exterior self of an individual. The acts of terrorism make one vulnerable to the person of injury in the cultural, psychological and social senses (Humphrey 2013: 1). Torture of the Body as Sign of Truth The torture of the body can be used as a strategy for getting the truth. The persons who are subjected to pain through the acts of terrorism could be forced to make a personal confession that could not have been possible to be done without inflicting discomfort to the body (Silverman 2010: 23). The Foucault’s triadic structure is a confessional model used to derive the truth through extreme torture on the person. In fact, it is a confession other than the secret that amplifies the legality of the state because agony has been used as a source of the reality. While the exposure of a person to torture is de-humanizing, politically, it is the only mechanism for the exclusion and selection (Humphrey 2013: 4). The social category can only be created through suffering via putting the persons beyond the protection of the law. In most cases, the survivors of the mistreatment are typically placed in a liminal and ambiguous social category of their betrayers. The use of torture engenders a culture of terror. The legacy of violence causes a continuous trauma to the victims. Thus, this form of suffering remains socially challenging on the sufferers and in most cases often irresolvable. As a result, the experience of the assault is socially quarantined by its medicalizations. Hence, the body has been used to anguish, which is
  6. 6. 6 considered an instrument or sign of getting the truth of the information that could not have been obtained through fair means. War, Horrors, and Beliefs The violence of war is different from the other forms of aggression. The intention of the war in most cases is to have somebody or people killed, and even some are murdered for some patriotic purposes. The state witnesses the casualties or victims of the war as substantiating beliefs in the country. The bodies of the deceased signify their level of sacrifice and commitment to the state (Humphrey 2013: 43). In the national enterprise of killing people or ‘producing corpses,’ all the dead are equivalent since they symbolize the universal State shrine of the tomb that belongs to the unknown patriotic soldiers. The modern warfare is not the project of killing as compared to the traditional war. The use of today’s technology weapons has even made the execution of people more mysterious and the destruction unreal and disconnected. As a result, the devastating effects of modern weapons are widely censored or concealed (Humphrey 2013: 44). The members of the public are rarely allowed to view the bodies since most of them expose the dehumanizing conditions of the enemy. It will further act as a sign of accelerating rivalry between the parties involved in the warfare. Also, the abjectness of the injured persons or the mutilated bodies is a very unstable signifier of the risk involved in subjecting the corpses on the television or other media accessed by the members of the public. Despite concealing the horror of the war, it remains in the memories of the veterans/ soldiers and the victims since they still vividly remember the extent of
  7. 7. 7 the damage caused by the battle. Therefore, the dead act as a sign of the magnitude of the level of war and horror. Spatial Violence: Destroying Cities, Ethnic Cleansing, and Genocide All the acts of terror have some crucial spatial dimension in the cities and ethnic groups. Terror in most cases reshapes the relationship fbetween the people and their world, in that, the cities are destroyed, ethnic groups divided. As a result, the acts leave people scattered and the cities out of shape. The primary aim of such destructions is to dislodge individuals’ attachment to a place or group so that they could surrender. Therefore, terrorists use the body as a sign of attachment to the persons and venues or ethnic groups. The primary target of the terror attack is to destroy cities and communities to detach citizens from their socially and culturally inhabited places (Lieberman 2013: 6). For the victims of the terror attack to be successful after a brutal act, they should recreate their world, put back their memories in place and sustain their contracted social worlds through imagination and circumscribed networks and spaces. The body should have the irrepressible practice of the self-extension to continue living in areas under siege. Modern civil wars increasingly use the massacre as a strategy of gaining power through murder and the displacement of people. The logic behind the extermination is a ritual act of creation and destruction. Bloodbath can destroy a whole community since it damages not only the body but also the social, cultural and the economic beings of people. The result of the Holocaust is the formation of a dissimilar place and population since the inhabitants have been destroyed physically, morally and spiritually.
  8. 8. 8 The body also can be used as a sign of torture for the perpetrators of the massacre. It can be achieved through disfigurement and defilement. The victims of the two acts even if counseled, will continue to suffer emotionally and psychologically because of the abject marks that the deed put on their bodies, making the enemy achieve its intentions (Humphrey 2013: 2). The primary goals of any ethnic violence or massacre are to kill and to leave the survivors with social, physical or psychological torture that are triumphed through disfigurement and defilement. Conclusion There are two forms of terrorism, which include the global and local terrorism. The acts of terror mainly target human bodies and activities. The body is an essential component of the human being. The pains can only be inflicted on the persons through their bodies. The terrorists maximize the destruction of the body as a sign of victory. The human form can be destroyed physically, psychologically, culturally or socially. Pain in the body can be used to silence somebody or a group of people, making the perpetrators of the act achieve their goals such as political milestones. The picture of the injured body through the act of violence become detached from the meaning of the victims and instead turns out to be a source of cultural meaning or a political sign.
  9. 9. 9 References DIANE Publishing Company. (2009) International Terrorism: FBI Investigates Domestic Activities to Identify Terrorists. New York: DIANE Publishing Company. Humphrey, M. (2013) The Politics of Atrocity and Reconciliation: From Terror to Trauma. London: Routledge. Lieberman, B. (2013) Remaking Identities: God, Nation, and Race in World History. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Nagengast, C. (1994) Violence, Terror and the Crisis of the State. Annual Review of Anthropology, 23(4), 109-136. Scarry, E. (1985) The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. London: Oxford University Press. Silverman, L. (2010) Tortured Subjects: Pain, Truth, and the Body in Early Modern France. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Useful links: