Wednesday, March 27, 2013
What is Structural Violence? This is from the "USA to Uganda: Cultural Difference and Social Change" page, I did not write it. This is brilliant!
Structural violence is often defined in light of direct violence. Direct violence is an action or behavior such as fighting, killing, or physical or emotional abuse that insults the basic needs of others; structural violence indirectly deprives basic human needs through exploitation and abuse built into political, economic, and social structures and institutions. The inherent nature of and problem with structural violence is that it is so difficult to define and to grasp. Certain forms of suffering are easy to observe, but the suffering of those oppressed by structural violence is so complex and so deeply ingrained in our world's structures. Structural violence easily becomes "the way the world works" or "an unfortunate reality;" then, structures of violence are dismissed by many (knowingly or unknowingly) as too difficult to discuss, confront, or change. Paul Farmer writes: "Structural violence all too often defeats those who would describe it." Furthermore, even the victims of structural violence (and it could be argued that all are victims in one way or another) cannot entirely see how their plight is choreographed by these complex structures of inequality. Nevertheless, it is crucial to look at these structures and to break them down.