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Monday, 9 November 2015

The Hidden Structure of Violence

Violence can occur and manifest itself in different forms. Whether it is in the form of full-fledged war, or in the form of economic embargoes that affects civilians, violence manifests itself in all kinds of ways. However, Marc Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree argue that violence is a manifestation of a social order regardless of how it is carried out – whether by military forces or economic factors. In their book titled The Hidden Structure of Violence, they examine the evidence that helps assess the costs of direct violence, military preparedness and the social consequences of war, and their interplay with structural violence in every social order.  

The book takes a look at the (although) small number of people and corporations  that are responsible for facilitating a violent status quo through  arrange of activities – facilitating the range of permissible discussion on the one hand, and benefiting as financiers or manufacturers of tools for war. As a consequence, violence remains a cyclical occurrence, being reproduced on a daily basis. The books is written from a wholesome perspective that only an interdisciplinary focus can afford – and evidently, comprises a blend of discourses that include everything from psychology to economics, from sociology to international relations, from history to journalism, and from peace studies to military science.

The core premise hits hard as a narrative of truth – the occurrence of violence actually benefits a small network of power, comprising our institutions. Whether it is the network of global trade or the labour market, or political units, there is a continued campaign to keep conflict alive: for war is business and violence is business.  

The book examines direct violence, cultural violence and structural violence – the last one being the most significant element in the book. The authors, therefore, are not concerned with the outward bomb dropping or the domination of one culture over the other. But rather, they are concerned with the structural violence dimension, manifesting itself in the patterns of investment and exploitation within the scope of the global corporate economy, which culminates in the greatest extent of suffering, all in favour of unprecedented gains for a few powerful sections.

This book is as important a read for an academic as it is for a non-academic, the rationale being that the greater social discourse begs the comprehension of violence, its reasons and the key structures that drive it to exist. In order to look at violence in a manner that helps address the issue from its very root, in a way that social structures can transition into places of lasting peace.