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Dean’s Talk no. 11: Violence in Educational Institution

Violence in Educational Institution

Violence is a social phenomena. There are a number of victims caused by social interactions from various parties. Violence, thus, is not an isolated activity but socially involved through processes, spaces, and times. Therefore, we need to grasp root causes, characteristics, and contexts that pave the way for violence as we can learn why violence could take place.

In the past, a number of social scientists argue that individual will interpret meaning from social phenomenas based on experiences, socialization through variety of social agents, and learning from culture that his/her belongs. Individual learns from those structures and behaves violent behaviors. Most social scientists had premise that the family is a prime insitution that grows social violence.

In the present, various social scientists, based on a number of researches, argue that individual and society could learn violence from countless sources, therefore, ways to deal with violence are depend on many factors. For the case of direct violence, those who are victims choose a ‘self-defence mechanism’ to deal with their problems. But things are more complicated in the case of indirect victims and difficult to protect and cure. Indirect violence takes place through learning and deciphering from ‘symbolic culture’ which concealed behind everyday life for a long time. For example, student absorbs violence by way of saying rude words, blemishing, condeming, backbiting, and even disrespecting on their teachers. In addtion, people also learns on violence through a human rights-less government and even by living in orderless societies for a long time.

virginiatech34It should be noticed that since the 20th century, number of violence in educational institutions, in both higher education and primary-secondary school, has been sharply increased. This kind of violence also occurs in both developed and underdeveloped countries. For instance, the incidence in Erfurt, Germany (2002) that led 17 people to death and 7 injured; North Ossetia (2004) that 386 died and more than 700 people injured; Red Lake High School (2005) that lost 10 lives and 12 wounded; Verginia Tech (2007) where they lost 32 lives and countless injuries; and more recently in UCLA Minnesota (2016) or the case of Thai Rajabhat University in May 2016 (on this matter see Cohen and Canela-Cacho, 1994).

Warr (1994) had noticed that the continuing problem of violence does not only arise from the family alone anymore, however, it takes place through accumulated and concealed social violence and make a given society a violent society. Violence could be disguised as ‘cultural symbolics’ in various 19-150x150forms, for example, government policy of war on drugs, road accidents happen with school kids, child sexual abuses, and human rights violations related activities in the first year university’s life. Violence as cultural symbolics could also be a double-standard public policy from the government, illegal enforcement, intimidation, illegitimated detaintion, and even uncertain economic-social-political conditions. These symbolic violences absorb to people thought and mind. They live with them and familiarize them as part of their everydaylife. What interesting is that they might feel that they are living in a violence-free-society as they cannot see what lies behind those symbolic violences.

As a social scientist, I truly hope that all new coming students at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Naresuan University for this academic year will be treated with great honor and equality by senior students. I wish you all to have such a great opportunity to learn and exchange their thoughts and opinions with our talented academic staffs. And once you need any help, you wil have friendly, quickly, and effectively services from our support staffs. At least, I hope, at our little home of Social Sciences you will get away from various kinds of violence. I expect that our prestigious institution will educate you on matters of human rights, equality, and peacefulness which hardly get from any societies.


With Best Wishes,

Associate Professor Patcharin Sirasoonthorn,

Dean, the Faculty of Social Sciences, Naresuan University

6 June 2016

Thai edition