Clara - JSTOR Notes

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P. 1 – Violence– defined as involving intentional physical harm.

– The article will work with three questions -What is it about displays of violence that is so appealing? -Where is the pleasure in watching bodies being blown appart? Where is the delight in watching barbarous torture, slaughter and death? -What is the lure, the attraction?

–Why are representation of violence becoming increasingly visceral (nästan verkligt)?

–What are we doing ourselves by exposing ourselves to so much violent mass media?

p.22 – What is the social significance, the real world consequences, of being attracted to violent imagery? Parts that will be investigated and discussed: -comic -transgressive -retaliatory (vedergällning= hämd) -gratuitous (ogrundad, omotiverad)


Sensory Attraction p.22 often talk about: "the aesthetic quality of media violence".

"blood ballet" "and this is what carries horror– makes it beautiful, almost abstract." "of fight choreography."

..."point about Aristotle´s characterization of the attraction of Greek tragic drama as the pleasure that comes from pity and fear as nothing but a rationalization of the grate man´s "shameful taste"

"radical chic" p.23

"appears to, and simple find pleasure in and celebrate violence: "the joy of cruelty, the thrill of horror..all reproduced in the safe playground of art" Nietzsche, Marquis de Sade...thoughts about where violence is produced.

Note: In this part they talk about how violens has aesthetic to it. That we are very much trained in seeing violence in a certain typ of choreographed way. That it is very beautiful made that it for us almost become abstract and surreal. They also then talk about that some will explain the violence watching towards bad taste, but that will not explain why people are attracted towards it.

Some Generalizations

"amount of specialization"

"Characteristics that increase appeal include clues to the unreality of the violence, such as music, editing and setting, exaggeration or distortion of reality.....engaging narratives"

"...attridutes of violen fare"

"For moeast people the attraction is not violence per se but violence as a means to and end– an acceptable device for making dramatic points where violence is valued for what it dose rather then what it is."

"For example, TV wresting is so hyperbolic ( överdriven) that it frees men from the social taboos of openly expressing emotions. Yet people are able to maintain emotional distance and thus prevent images from becoming too disturbing. Violent imagery is found to be more attractive in a safe, familiar environment. People need a protective frame, where choice can be made between empathy and detachment.

Notes: What is my general thoughts towards media violence? What kind of prejudice do I got? How dose it effect me that see very little? I think that the concept of wrestling is super interesting. When it is used so hyperbolic that men can find a forum where they can express there emotions and find a language to do it. It is super interesting. I wounded if I can use that concept in something else? Like exaggerating to give something hard to talk about a voice.

Kinds of violence p. 23-25

"though of course pythons do not bite"

"In adressing comic violence, Bakhtin´s analysis of the violence of medieval carnival as essentially begin had been enormously influential. Writing from Russia in 1940, Bakhtin notes it was common at medieval carnivals to elect a king from the ordinary people, but "he is abused and beaten when the time of his reign is over, just as the carnival dummy of winter or the dying year is mocked, beaten, torn to pieces, bound and drowned evening our time."

"For Bakhtin violence is integral to the grand cycle of filfe and death, where everything is always in the process of becoming and every death foreshadows rebirth." p. 25

"image of the rent body".


Transgressive violence (på gränsen i det socialt accepterade rummet)

"is anchored by narratives"

"...ability to make judgment about fictional characters with respect to their moral worth".

protagonist/antagonist

"This accords with Aristotle´s view that people are drawn to violence not solely because of the sensory (sensorisk) stimulation but also because narratives allow the exercise of moral judgment."

"...we adopt a witness perspective". and respond to fictional characters, cognitively and emotionally, much as we do in real life."

"..but one´s disposition towards them. As in real life, we assume favorable and unfavorable positions towards different characters depending upon our interpretation of their appearance and their behavior". p.25-26

Suffer in safe, protected zones. "Whether the emotions evoked are the same as we experience in real life, specific to dramatic situations, complimentary real life emotions, or parapathetic emotions. within fictional context, anxiety, even fear, is experienced as pleasurable."p.26

"only people who really suffer through en early round of transgressive violence will truly enjoy the later punitive (bestraffande) violence".

"...suggesting again that Aristotle again got it right when he referred to "pity and fear" as the attraction of violen fiction".

"Prehaps this is due to pleasure and pain being activated in the same part of the brain . While different constellations of neurons make use of this same part of the brain in different ways, the experience of pleasure id closely related."

"Heros often suffer repeated failures at the hands of unscrupulous opponents and ineffective referees as well as the general arbitrariness of fate".

"...to De Sade´s and Nietzsche´s view that finds celebration in cruelty to be exhilarating and liberating."

"When real life circumstances are experienced as oppressive, there is joy to be found in transgression. People who feel themselves to be loser identify with loser. Knowing that they have little chance of being respected by the winners within society, they identify more with the oppositional and disruptive transgression."

Note: That when a person feel that it is hard to become a part of the society is is easier to identify with transgressive violence and transgressive parts in our society. That Aristole meant that humans are drawn to violence also as an exercise of moral judgment. But when we only experience this in a safe zone, like wrestling for ex. emotions get detatched from the rea world. That violence can be liberating. Question: where is then the border where contoled violence starts to get dangerous? When dose it get detached from reality and real emotions?

Retaliatory violence ( hämnd)

"If revenge is among the most basic of human motivations..."

"...emotional arousal often lingers after the cause of it has ceased and one has adjusted cognitively to a new situation. Emotional reactions lag behind cognitive reactions; head moves forwards but heart dose not immediately follow.

Gratuitous violence (meningslöst våld) p.28-29

"The foregoing dissuasion indicated that one can identify with both the antagonist and the protagonist at different times, like having your cake and eating it as well, an opportunity that us built into many computers shoot-em ups where one can play either role."

"Gratuitous violence is violence for its one sake, violence that has no narrative relevance, violence that is mere spectacle and enjoyed without regard to moral questions or the fate of the protagonist."

"...related to particularity types; it is also strongly gendered. Those most attracted are males, especially adolescent males. Resaech suggests that vy viewing high levels of violence, they master their fears and are thereby enable to play their socially allotted gendered role as emotionally detached and fearless. They are typically in search of a social identity; watching violent imagery acts as a way to bond with peers and as a rite of passage."

"..most attracted to violent spectacles are high-sensation seekers."

"...they seek their risks in real life. Those most attracted to violence media are alienated adolescent males. Impulsive and nonconforming, often referred to as disinhibited they are also attracted to other norm-breaking behaviors such as crime and drugs. Perhaps violence on scress, having no real world consequences, makes their lives seem less wretched. Most adolescents at times feel more or less alienated from authority figures, but perhaps these youngsters are especially alienates..."

" their antisocial identity. It may provide a test of their masculinity or a means to establish a social bonds with other people who feel similarly alienated."

Note: I am thinking a lot about the feeling of alienation. And how that makes you go search for another identity. I also think about when you come in to a surrounding where you do not are alienated anymore. You are just normal. That must also be hard. To change that identity.

But also how violence is mused to concur fears, and how it is a way to educate yourself from your feelings. And it makes you enable your way of master the role of norms.

The Current Increase in Violent Imagery

"...and among some sense of societal alienation".

"Between transgressive and retaliatory violence, has become blurred"

"...good and bad guys violence. As one commentator put it, "Everyone´s a psychopath now"

"...violence has become so pervasive it can no longer be reflected upon, only consumed".

Hubituation/Addiction p.30 "...filmmakers and audiences alike have become emotionally disengaged".

"Even if people who watch violence media never themselfe harm another person, violent media makes the harming of real life people more acceptable. At least equally significant is that violent media contributes to a sense of apprehension(gripandet) or fear., a point I will develop below. p. 30

Note: That even if the violent consumption in itself is harmfull it changes our perspective of how much violence we think is alright and where harm to another person stops and begins. Our resistance towards violence become elastic.

A market economy. p.30-31

"Corporate capital is willing to appeal to the most extreme visceral experiences, of fish sex and violence are the most common."

Rationalism and the Represion of desire p.31 "...a return to the transgressive but safe characteristics of the carnevalesque comes as liberation.

"A highly structured, rationally ordered society makes people vulnerable to the appeal of the instructed, irrationality of bodily excess. In the face of a highly regulated society, the return of the precious repressed carnivalesque can appear as welcome relief, but it has its consequences."

Note: I think that the last quote here is quite important to me. Maybe that is how I see my works sometime, that I need the crazy carnivalesque to get elasticity in to my perception of this world and make it mush less vulnerable. If nothing silly ever been done, nothing intelligent would be done either.

A violent Media/ A violent society p. 31

"I argue below that violent media helps create and maintain a culture of fear and anxiety, which, in turn, serves the socioeconomic and sociopolitical status qui because a pervasive sense of fear and anxiety has effect of quelling (kuvat) dissent(meningsskiljaktighet)."

"...exposure to violent media increases aggression, anxiety and fear"

"Antagonistis invariably theater the status quo while protagonist reestablish the status quo and for people who are anxious, the desire for a stable, predictable world sanctions (ge godkänande till) the use of violence. In this instance, violence is considered to be used fot the common good."

"Horsley equates the hero with the State; the antagonists he equates with the forces of instability – communism, anarchy, subversion crime and now terrorism".

"The family that slays together stays together". "..conestome of social cohesion is maintained." "there is design to the chaos, after all."

"...and that same violence contributing to a sense of insecurity. Fear produces violence that , in turn, produces fear, and so on. Fear and violence are different sides of the same coin; they fold into one another, the one producing the other."


Note: Fear and violence. Folding. Together. Remove fear. What it then violence? Can we talk about that then?

Some concluding Remrks p.34

"They are intended to help continue dissuasions, not foreclose it."

"...because democracy is built upon the freedom of dissent (meningsskiljaktighet), which tends to be crushed by a culture of fear and while the media is responsible for helloing to generate many unwarranted fears about health and safety, one of the prime ways it engenders a culture of fear is through the constant representation of violence."

"Banning violent media, or even toning it down, however, appears not ot be an adequate respons because it is not the violent images alone that are the root problem. ...fear is more likely to move trouble from one burner to another then rune down the flame."

"...part of a cycle in which media violence simultaneously feeds and feeds off of fees and anxiety."

"...be more rational about the nature od our fears and anxieties, discerning which are legitimate and which, on any objectives factual bassi, are not".

"burner of our fears and thereby tone down the media violence that contributes to them. Educations is key to each of the three steps".

"Asking students to be rational about what frightens and worries them when the wider culture is often irrational about the sam things is, of course, asking a lot."


Note: talk to each other. Do not feel ashamed. Talk to each other.


What drew you to this text? That I have been looking in to non verbal violence through body language and move mantes. How power is exercised through choreography. What is the text's relation to your work, or more general research interests?