Structural Violence

Structural violence can be broadly defined as harm and deprivation that result from institutional and social arrangements that shape the interaction of individuals and groups in a society—also known as ‘social structures’. Examples of such arrangements include the economy, politics, the law, industry, media, health, and education. What makes structural violence qualitatively unique as a form of violence is its ubiquity and apparent normality—that is, it is commonly taken to be ‘just the way things are’—which renders it less perceptible than forms of violence that inflict suffering more directly and visibly. In addition, because structural violence is normalised through institutions and everyday social interactions, it usually lacks an identifiable agent with malevolent intent. This entry introduces theories of structural violence and examines how intersectionality ...

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