The connection between interpersonal and systemic violence.

Because of the presumption of voluntaryism, people generally never try to examine the connections between systemic violence and interpersonal violence, and hold that these two things are completely separate domains that have nothing to do with each other. Yet it is obvious that there is such a connection. The personal is the political. The political is the personal.

So why is structural violence never mentioned? Because to discuss structures, means having to discuss systems, and that means rejecting two faulty frameworks that incredibly popular and dominant in US media and political discourse: the psychological / pathological frame or the preachy / moralizing frame. The first one treats violent behavior as individual pathology (listed in the DSM) while the other attributes it to moral failings, be they individual or collective (blame the 60s).

To put structural violence front and center is to invoke Durkheimian social facts that neither blame nor excuse individuals but put their actions in context as well as the products of these actions. Structural violence also places remedies squarely within the social structure as matters of policy, rather than pathology or moralizing. And by challenging current arrangements as producing structurally violent effects, it challenges current power arrangements.

It is out of structural violence that the most powerful social movements emerge as its effects are widespread and require collective action to solve.

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