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Outline and evaluate explanations of institutional aggression

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Introduction

´╗┐Outline and evaluate explanations of institutional aggression: The Importation Model claims that some people who enter prison do so already possessing certain characteristics (i.e values, attitudes and experiences) that predispose them toward interpersonal violence within prisons. Cheeseman (2003) said that said that men in prison have a certain way of behaving and that they apply that behaviour to that new institutional setting, leading to institutional aggression. Therefore according to this explanation of institutional aggression, interpersonal violence is not a product of the institution itself but rather of the characteristics of those violent individuals who enter such institutions. This is summarised by Toch (1997) who stated ?All prisoners inherit their sub cultural sediments from the street corners that supply them with clients?. Statistics suggest that young inmates have a more difficult time adjusting to prison; therefore they are more likely to have confrontations with other inmates and with prison staff, and are more likely to view violence as an appropriate way to deal with conflicts within prison. ...read more.

Middle

When later required to deliver what they thought were real electric shocks to the other students, higher shocks were given in the ?animal? condition. Institional aggression resulting from dehumanisation is evident in real-life conflicts as well. For instance the Rwandan genocide in 1994, the influential Hutu-controlled ?hate radio? station RTLM encouraged other Hutus to turn against their Tutsi neighbours by referring to them as ?inyenzi? (cockroaches). The Importation Model and The Deprivation Model are arguably deterministic. The former states that people who enter prison will bring aggressive characteristics in with them, leading to the institutional aggression. The model claims that membership of a gang prior to confinement will increase chances of violence. The model therefore does not take into account an individual?s free will or choice, making it deterministic. However, research by DeLisi et al. (2005) shows the importation model to be wrong to be so deterministic. DeLisi et al found no evidence that being in a gang before hand had any effect. To add, not everyone who enters prison does so for a violent crime and not everyone is aggressive whilst in prison which highlights further how this model is too deterministic as clearly free will is involved. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore by focusing on one model to explain Keller and Wang?s findings of institutional aggression other equally important and valid explanations are being overlooked, making it reductionist. The dehumanisation explanation of institutional aggression is arguably nurture based. It could be argued that it is due to the experience of being in a war that leads to the dehumanisation of whole groups of people, which would clearly highlight the element of nurture in dehumanisation. Yet, on the other hand it could be argued that dehumanisation is a product of evolution, which would therefore make it nature based. From the in-group vs. out-group evolutionary explanation of aggression, it can be seen that forming groups that act aggressively towards unfamiliar, different out-groups is an adaptive response. Dehumanisation can relate to this, as by forming the idea of ?us? and ?them? this could lead to whole groups making derogatory, negative comments about entire groups in order to distinguish that group from them. Therefore the dehumanisation explanation of institutional aggression could be either nature based or nurture based as a strong argument is presented for both sides. ...read more.

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