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(Re) Constructing Cultures of Violence and Peace 2

May 20, 2012

Continuing on from his comments about media, culture, politics, religion, etc (see earlier blog), Richard Jackson writes:

It is not suprising then, that if our politics, religion, entertainment, and culture are all infused with violence, that our very language would be similarly characterised by the unconscious acceptance of violence. From the political metaphors of the various ‘wars on terror/drugs/crime/poverty’, to our everyday language of ‘fire fighters’ and ‘character assassination’, we speak the language of violence virtually every day. The extent to which language can reify and discursively construct cultures of violence is increasingly recognised by scholars, as seen in some of the chapters of this book. Interestingly, at the same time as we normalise violence through our language, religion, entertainment, and politics, the ugliness of actual physical violence is so antithetical to our liberal sensiblities that we have designed whole new vocabularies to try to hide its reality (‘surgical strikes’ … ‘collateral damage’ … daisy cutters …), and new technologies to disguise its practice by our institutions (air wars, supermax prisons, behavior control drugs). …In other words, we are both seduced and repelled by violence; we glorify it in our politicians, our action heroes, and our histories an legnds, while at the same time deploring it in ourselves, our children, our young people, and our socia and political insitutions.

In this sense, we are all hypocrites and have failed to grasp our own complicity in the cultures of violence in which we live. We have failed to see the contradictions in supporting virtual violence or entertainment violence, while at the same time opposing actual political or social violence; in denouncing physical violence, while ignoring structural violence; and in thinking that violence in one area can be compartmentalised or sequestered from violence in another. In fact, we are beginning to understand that it is all part of the same wider culture.” (2) He continues: “The violence in the relations between states is as much an expression of the violence within states; and inter-personal violence can be an expression of structural violence. In other words, there are clear links between all the many different cultures of violence: war, domestic violence, criminal violence, psychological violence, and structural violence.” (2-3)

Ref: (bold coloured emphases mine) Richard Jackson (2004) Introduction: (Re) Constructing Cultures of Violence and Peace pp1-13 in Richard Jackson (Ed.) (Re) Constructing Cultures of Violence and Peace Amsterdam, New York, NY: Rodopi [volume 12 in the At the Interface Project ‘cultures of violence’]


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