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SAVE THE DATE The Culture of Violence

Date: September 22, 2021

NASW-PA Social Justice Committee
(National Association of Social Workers in Pennsylvania)

The Culture of Violence
Wednesday, September 22nd Time, 9-7 pm (Tentatively)

Cultural violence is defined as any aspect of a culture that can be used to
legitimize violence in its direct or structural form.

The culture of violence includes the way that societies distinguish violence from culturally normal behavior
through“specific legally defined acts which are reported to the police and which they
decide to treat as violence”

; how leaders determine who is responsible for violent behavior
; as well as who is ‘deserving’ of violence.

While all of these factors vary considerably from culture to culture, the structured way in which these things are defined is the same across cultures.

America was founded and established through the violence of colonization.
From that point, the U.S. has maintained a perspective that violence is heroic when
committed for the right cause.


This can be seen in war propaganda going as far back as the first World War and is seen today when lawmakers argue for increased police funding and the presence of weapons in school settings.


Respecting the inherent dignity and worth of the person is a major ethical principle in the NASW Code of Ethics. If we allow some populations to be perceived as deserving of violence, we are not acknowledging the inherent worth of their lives.


Additionally, the role of the social worker to challenge injustice becomes vital when discussing the inequity that people face in how they are treated before, during, and after a violent act.
The proposed symposium will look at the violence that goes beyond the everyday definition of physical harm and its effects on one’s social determinants of health.


Sessions will include; maternal health, physical and behavioral health, policing,
policy, economics, criminal justice, and various other inequality focused on the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Participants will emerge from this program with insight into how these efforts reflect upon our professional code of ethics, how social workers can advocate for system change and tangible next steps to address inequalities in the system.