Addressing structural violence

Reforming our perspectives


Structural violence is a condition in which groups of persons are harmed by general and persist-ing situations not of their own choosing; from which most have no real way of escaping. Great harm, including death, and limits on the actualization of potential are the result. Three frequently contributing major causes of structural violence to be reviewed in this chapter are poverty (with resource inequality), sexism, and racism. El Salvador is used as an example. The practical theolog-ical strategy suggested here is: 1) in any context under study, raise the question of whether struc-tural violence might be involved and give consideration of the effects of structural violence a priority even in the midst of other negative causes; 2) seek remedies against structural violence; and 3) augment the agency of the persons negatively affected. Reforming our perspectives is required to move us from focusing on small but deadly brushfires while missing the firestorm of structural violence, which deadens our social landscapes.