Show: Film For Justice

Episode: PSA 6m15s - Structural Violence - FJva145 - PSA 093

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Episode Description:

PSA 6m15s - Structural Violence - FJva145 - PSA 093

Structural violence is a term commonly ascribed to Johan Galtung, which he introduced in the article ''Violence, Peace, and Peace Research'' (1969). It refers to a form of violence wherein some social structure or social institution may harm people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs. Institutionalized adultism, ageism, classism, elitism, ethnocentrism, nationalism, speciesism, racism, and sexism are some examples of structural violence as proposed by Galtung. According to Galtung, rather than conveying a physical image, structural violence is an ''avoidable impairment of fundamental human needs''.

As it is avoidable, structural violence is a high cause of premature death and unnecessary disability. Because structural violence affects people differently in various social structures, it is very closely linked to social injustice. Structural violence and direct violence are said to be highly interdependent, including family violence, gender violence, hate crimes, racial violence, police violence, state violence, terrorism, and war.

In his book Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic, James Gilligan defines structural violence as ''the increased rates of death and disability suffered by those who occupy the bottom rungs of society, as contrasted with the relatively lower death rates experienced by those who are above them''. Gilligan largely describes these ''excess deaths'' as ''non-natural'' and attributes them to the stress, shame, discrimination, and denigration that results from lower status. He draws on Sennett and Cobb, who examine the ''contest for dignity'' in a context of dramatic inequality.

Bandy X Lee wrote in her article Causes and cures VII: Structural violence, ''It refers to the avoidable limitations society places on groups of people that constrain them from achieving the quality of life that would have otherwise been possible. These limitations could be political, economic, religious, cultural, or legal in nature and usually originate in institutions that have authority over particular subjects.'' She goes on to say that it ''directly illustrates a power system wherein social structures or institutions cause harm to people in a way that results in maldevelopment or deprivation''. Rather than the term being called social injustice or oppression, there is an advocacy for it to be called violence because this phenomena comes from, and can be corrected by human decisions, rather than just natural causes.

In The Sources of Social Power, Michael Mann makes the argument that within state formation, ''increased organizational power is a trade-off, whereby the individual obtains more security and food in exchange for his or her freedom.'' Siniša Malešević elaborates on Mann's argument by saying, ''Mann's point needs extending to cover all social organizations, not just the state. The early chiefdoms were not states, obviously; still, they were established on a similar basis—an inversely proportional relationship between security and resources, on the one hand, and liberty, on the other.'' This means that although those who live in organized, centralized social systems are not likely subject to hunger or to die in an animal attack, they are likely to engage in organized violence, which could include war.

These structures make for opportunities and advances that humans could not create for themselves, including the development of agriculture, technology, philosophy, science, and art; however, these structures take tolls elsewhere, meaning that these structures are both productive and detrimental. In our early history, hunter-gather groups used organizational power to acquire more resources and produce more food, but at the same time, this power was also used to dominate, kill, and enslave other groups in order to expand territory and supplies.

Although structural violence is said to be invisible, it has a number of influences which shape it. These include identifiable institutions, relationships, force fields, and ideologies, including discriminatory laws, gender inequality, and racism. Moreover, this does not only exist for those of the lower class, although the effects are much heavier on them, including the highest rate of disease and death, unemployment, homelessness, lack of education, powerlessness, and shared fate of miseries. The whole social order is effected by social power, but these other groups have much more indirect effects on them, with the acts generally being less violent.

Due to the social and economic structure in place today, specifically the division into rich and poor, powerful and weak, and superior and inferior, the death rate is between 10 and 20 million per year, which is about ten times the death rates from suicide, homicide, and warfare combined.

''Cultural violence'' refers to aspects of a culture that can be used to justify or legitimize direct or structural violence, and may be exemplified by religion and ideology, language and art, empirical science and formal science.

Cultural violence makes direct and structural violence look or feel ''right'', or at least not wrong, according to Galtung. The study of cultural violence highlights the ways the act of direct violence and the fact of structural violence are legitimized and thus made acceptable in society. One mechanism of cultural violence is to change the ''moral color'' of an act from ''red/wrong'' to ''green/right'', or at least to ''yellow/acceptable''.
Two shows were made for Structural Violence.
A full length show 6m15s. And a 1m30s shorter version.

This show is edited from the original show. Video edited, audio trimmed.

The original show is on
The Audiopedia - YouTube website

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Wikipedia Text
Structural Violence
Tags: Structural Violence,
Published: May 30, 2018, ID: FJva145 PSA 093
Category: Education, Duration 06:15
License: Creative Commons - By 4.0
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Shorter Show - 1m30s
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Episode Short Description: The meaning of Structural Violence is explained.

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Date SD Episode Video Uploaded: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 13:50

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Date HD Episode Video Uploaded: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 13:46