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Symbolic Violence and Structural Violence

Keywords: symbolic assault example, inequality and violence

This week's readings are composed of the matters of structural violence and symbolic violence. Galtung and Farmer's perspectives on personhood and conflict relationship are designed around the idea of the "structural assault". In general terms, structural violence means sociopolitical inequalities emerge out of the structures. Furthermore to them, Bourdieu and Bourgois & Schonberg bring new point of view by looking at the argument from different viewpoint with the term "symbolic violence" which means gender inequalities emerges from the embeddedness of female subordination by male in lifestyle.

Galtung first discusses the idea of violence in his 1969 article of "Violence, Peacefulness and Serenity Research" and exhibits the partnership and difference between direct/personal/with subject and indirect/structural/without subject violence. In his article "Cultural Violence" (Galtung, 1990), it is thought as "any facet of a culture you can use to legitimize assault in its direct or structural form" (p. 291). In Pierre Bourdieu's article, we review how symbolic assault affects the gender relationships by being embodied in the daily life habits of an agent. We may add that culture sometimes play a legitimizing role to strengthen symbolic violence. In my country, Turkey, there is still the "honor killings" phenomenon in the name of "culture", which actually includes social and symbolic assault. It really is a somewhat direct assault but also somewhat symbolic for the rest of the culture and male-female relationships. Galtung's prescription against those types of assault is clear; set up negative (the lack of direct assault) and positive (absence of structural and cultural violence) peacefulness (p. 183).

In his article of "Gender and Symbolic Violence", Pierre Bourdieu looks at violence in a different perspective than Galtung and creates relationship between violence and gender. According to him, hegemonic vitality and the domination of the ability on its victims can be called "symbolic violence". The guy domination over the female can be strengthened with the help of the concepts, terms, and symbols used in daily life habits. He does not mean to reduce the importance of physical violence, instead, focuses on the engineering of misrecognition through the dominant discourses in a variety of types of socio-cultural domination. Misrecognition is "confirmed" by dominating discourse and is embodied in women's body with "hidden symbols". As he mentions this symbolic assault is the majority of enough time unnoticed-partly unconsciousness- because the "victims" of the violence may not acknowledge it, or become silent for their subordination or they feel daunted against the violence. His prescription is discussed as "radical change of the interpersonal conditions of creation of the dispositions that lead the dominated for taking the idea of view of the dominating on the prominent and on themselves. "(p. 342).

Paul Farmer's "personhood" is a lot more related to structural issues. In "On Suffering and Structural Violence", he will try to comprehend the mechanisms which cause social causes from poverty to racism to be embodied as individual experiences (p. 281). He argues that what happens to Acephie and Chouchou - the past dies because of Helps and the latter dies because of politics assault- are two different types of structural violence. He reaches the conclusion that inequality of power and its own implications on the indegent are because of the structural arrangements of dominant power of the world. "Silence of socioeconomically poor people" is due to dominant power relations and its reflections on Third World countries. According to him, what occurred to Acephie and Chouchou is explained as; "these afflictions were not the consequence of incident or of push majeure; they were the consequence, direct or indirect, of individuals agency"(p. 286) He also mentions that when people are suffering because of poverty, their access to health, food, and shelter are limited because of their social position. His prescription is much more related to the "humane" and offers global safety measures. He feels that instead of debating "cultural differences", the interpersonal inequalities should be reduced. The precautions should concentrate on lowering global poverty, by so we can break the hyperlink between social violence and "social popularity of poverty".

After the debate on historically reproduced buildings of sociable inequality and the deficiencies of accessing to health care which really is a basic people right in Third World countries in Farmer's article, we witness similar quarrels in Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg's book of Righteous Dopefiend. The writers give us a portrayal of the sufferings of the homeless and heroin addicted community of Edgewater using their own personal participant observations. In general, the book is so impressive as a result of use of images, transcripts of saved conversations and the authors' participant observations. The authors screen the daily activities of these heroin addicted-homeless people and examine anthropologically those encounters. In the e book, we observe how those people suffer but also make an effort to hang onto life one more day by involving in burglary, day labor, panhandling etc.

The book is constructed on the styles of how violence sometimes appears in childhood, community of addicted people, in gender relations, in contest issues, sexuality, ability inequality, and so on. In the publication, one of the main arguments is the fact that while we enter into twenty first hundred years, neoliberalism has produced a strata of rich people but also a strata of "lumpen" in USA. Those people who couldn't change themselves in to the changing system are marginalized and subjected to the structural assault and victimized. These are Edgewater dopefiends now. On page 320, the authors mentioned that the burden of lumpenization is more severe in nonindustrialized societies. They add that there surely is not only power inequality and poverty concern but also poverty has been "punished" which is really the extension of symbolic violence. Writers barrow from Bourdieu's idea of misrecognition and symbolic assault (Bourdieu 2000) and use it to Foucault's ability/knowledge relationship. Corresponding to them, "policy debates and interventions often mystify large scale structural power vectors and unwittingly reassign blame to the powerless for his or her individual failures and moral identity deficiencies. " (p. 297). Here we see that, the heroin addicted-homeless people of Edgewater, Sanfransico, are not only excluded from the complete communal network and locked up to their own sociable network but also blamed about them for their inability. Although the reserve criticizes so much of healthcare system and the role of structural causes on the anguish of those people, I believe I'd be pleased to read ethical factors of the creators throughout their research.

In summary, this week's reading were so impressive and must be thought on more. Moreover, I believe what they are theorizing must be placed into practice and the consciousness on structural, cultural and symbolic violence must be increased with insurance policy advice. Or the project/practice areas should be motivated and implemented by the field experts.

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