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Between Structural Violence and Idioms of Distress

The Case of Social Suffering in the French Caribbean

Raymond Massé

Structural violence has become a central concept in critical medical anthropology. It emphasises the importance of structural health determinants such as poverty, political violence and other collateral aspects of globalization. Diseases and epidemics are viewed as being pathologies of power. The goal of anthropology is no longer to analyse the influence of culture on illness and disease, but rather to engage in pragmatic efforts to remedy social inequalities that express themselves through ill-health. Such opposition between culture and politics may not be consistent with the need for a comprehensive anthropology that emphasizes the subtle and complex articulations between the multiple dimensions of health. Based on an analysis of depression and social suffering in postcolonial Martinique (French Caribbean), a plea is made for a new understanding of the relationship between local idioms of distress on the one hand and intermediate social, political and economical factors on the other. There is also a discussion of some of the pitfalls related to an exclusive focus on the political economy of health.

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Migrant Residents in Search of Residences

Locating Structural Violence at the Interstices of Bureaucracies

Megan Sheehan

, migrants’ lived experience of multiple bureaucratic articulations— both state and nonstate—suggests that, through these encounters, migrants often become vulnerable to structural violence. Chile’s strong economy has prompted migrants from other Latin

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Life or Profit?

Structural Violence, Moral Psychology and Pharmaceutical Politics

Donna Goldstein

This article explores the antagonism expressed by two different theoretical positions within medical anthropology towards the structural violence position: the culture as central approach and the post-structuralist approach. While medical anthropologists trained in cultural models of illness are disappointed by the lack of culture in the structural violence approach, medical anthropologists trained in post-structuralist models of illness take issue with what they perceive to be its moral and universalist claims. In order to explore these universalist claims, the author returns to the field of moral psychology and its understanding of universal morality by exploring the history of the Heinz dilemma. She then frames her own recent research on global pharmaceutical politics in Argentina and Mexico in the context of the Heinz dilemma, neo-liberal discourses of capitalism, and the theoretical positions available within medical anthropology.

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Amanda J. Reinke

. For the skeptics, the creation and maintenance of an educated elite class of conflict resolvers and its associated paperwork, fee structures, and time requirements mirrors the formal legal system and thus allows structural violence to become embedded

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Robin Oakley

The constitution, the law of the land of the modern state, is fertile ground for the Eurocentric imagination of the Canadian polity as a result of the resiliency of Victorian-era sentiments. The ethno-racial hierarchy contained within this political imagery merges well with the public health mandate process of 'othering'. Othering situates the causes of disease and illness in foreign bodies rather than in the social structures of industrial capitalism. Chief among its morbid symptoms, othering produces a sense of alienation in those subjected to it. Sri Lankan Tamils are one of the newer migrant populations who have been subjected to, and have resisted this intrinsically violent othering process. This article examines the Canadian constitution as it relates to ethno-racial classification, and then explores how this scheme is reproduced in common experiences of the public health system and its effects on the health and well-being of Canadian Tamils.

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Incarnation, Alienation, and Emancipation

A Sartrean Analysis of Filmic Violence

Daniel Sullivan

, interiorize, and manifest broader forms of structural violence, and (b) refract outward socially as a function of and in interaction with underlying political-economic forces. In Sartre's analysis, any incidence of violence between two people will be shown to

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Meike J. de Goede

colonial rule as a system of structural violence. Nancy Rose Hunt (2016) has argued how this structural and multilayered (corporeal, psychic, sexual) colonial violence produces nervousness, or a tense, stressful and agitated interaction between oppressors

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Michael Fleming

Sartre's views on violence have been subject to considerable scholarly discussion over the last decade. At the same time, there has been renewed interest in the issue of structural violence. This paper is an attempt to engage with the two debates. I argue that by highlighting structural violence it is possible to reframe our understanding of how Sartre viewed violence and to demonstrate that Sartre's work remains a useful compass with which to orientate ourselves in a world saturated in violence. I contend that Sartre maintained a broadly consistent line on violence that held in tension the world we live in and the possibility of humanity in the world that we may create. In addition to this temporal dimension, Sartre's thinking on violence oscillated between social scales: between the individual and the collective. Awareness of this methodological double-movement helps clarify and contextualise Sartre's views, and facilitates fruitful re-readings of current scholarship on violence.

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Ronald E. Santoni

In this article, I maintain that (1) Sartre's views on violence are ambivalent and (2) Sartre sometimes justifies violence. More specifically, I attempt to establish the misreadings by Michael Fleming and Marguerite LaCaze (on whom Fleming relies) of both my writing and Sartre's in these regards. Each, by arguing that, for Sartre, violence is “sometimes acceptable” or “functionally necessary” or “understandable,” but not morally justifiable, is ignoring Sartre's tendency at times to skirt the issue of justifiability by employing “weasel words” that amount to justification. Both critics seem to forget that Sartre says that, on occasion, violence “could be called just” (qu'on pourrait appeler juste), especially in conditions of last resort defense against oppression, in which case violence, according to Sartre, can restore and regenerate the oppressed. Further, although I acknowledge Fleming's noteworthy emphasis on “structural violence,” I offer considerable counterevidence against his (and LaCaze's) claim that I ignore or slight Sartre's concern for it. I argue, on Sartrean grounds, against his (and Zizek's) claim that structural violence can be purely objective. Finally, I contend that in arguing that Sartre's views are not strictly ambivalent, Fleming, following LaCaze, makes the error of equating “consistency” with not being ambivalent.

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Family on the Edge

Neblagopoluchnaia Family and the State in Yakutsk and Magadan, Russian Federation

Lena Sidorova and Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill

Abstract

This paper addresses the notion and category of neblagopoluchnaia family in Yakutsk, Russian Federation, analyzing the ways in which this category is constructed and reproduced. Although this term is not defined in any jural and legal documents, it is widely applied in practice. The authors follow the process of marginalization of families through their increasing symbolic and geographic remoteness. These families constitute the category of neblagopoluchnaia family and include former village dwellers and urban families, irrespective of their ethnicity and gender, although the vast majority are mothers. As soon as such families become visible and fail to meet criteria for “good” parenting, they are demonized using the category of neblagopoluchnaia family as a tool, and their children are taken away. Personal and family difficulties due to symbolic and structural violence are not taken into consideration. Scapegoating parents facilitates social exclusion, expelling parents from moral community, and increasing, but justifying, the production of children without parental care.