Social representations of violence among young Chileans involved in violence
This paper presents the results of a qualitative study on the social representation of violence among young Chileans who have been involved in violence. Starting from interview-data that show their subjective perspective, a conceptual model of their social representation is constructed that identifies elements that favor or inhibit the violent actions. Results show two types of factors involved in the transgression of the "limit of violence": personal characteristics and contextual elements, making the distinction between the temporal context (the moment of violence) and the spatial context (the place of violence). In addition, the young participants of this study establish a relationship between their violent actions and the perception of threat, especially regarding their social identity. In this relationship, the function of violent actions is the neutralization of this threat. This understanding constitutes the nucleus of their social representation of violence. Implications for preventive strategies and community interventions are discussed.