Week 3B HIV/AIDS: 8 users active 8 answers Graded Bonus
Week 3B Video: Gene Richardson on Structural Violence
After watching the interview with Dr. Gene Richardson, please share any comments you have on the concept of "structural violence" and how it may relate to HIV/AIDS, or other social problems afflicting women
technical research results
I'm not so sure about the generalization that research should just follow moral or so called obvious options solving various problems. Mr. Richardson didn't say that, I know. But it's hard for me to follow his argument about technical data, because I think it is really important to be able to show statistics to politics for example. The world might be a better place if we could just follow good ideas, but because there are too many bad people acting just for themselves, we need clean and neutral study results. But of course I do agree with him that we need more structural interventions.Very interesting is the association of HIV prevalence and the religion. It seems logic to me, but I haven't thought about that yet. In the same time it is also locic that a muslim country (Yemen) has the highest inequality score. It's a pitty that these big society issues cannot come to a good end in all issues. read more
Steyr, Austria
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Structural Violence defined and interpreted by Gene Richardson
I feel that I would have understood this in a deeper way if the Tropical Medicine/Hygiene metaphor was made a lesser part of the 5-minute talk. Yes, when he began with how underlying social systems e.g. racism, gender equality, lack of access to health, clean water, etc. create violence. I too as some other respondents replied feel that there is a clear physical element to these violences as well. I would definitely like to read more about this, and have enjoyed reading other classmates' answers. read more
Albuquerque, United States
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Understanding Galtung’s Violence Triangle and Structural Violence

We understand that Violence is any physical, emotional, verbal, institutional, structural or spiritual behaviour, attitude, policy or condition that diminishes, dominates or destroys others and ourselves. Violence is one of the possible responses to specific conflict situations. This does not imply that violence is unavoidable. Violence is not inevitable and it must not be confused with conflict.In other words, Violence consists of actions, words, attitudes, structures or systems that cause physical, psychological, social or environmental damage and/or prevent people from reaching their full human potential (Fisher et al. 2000). Violence can be deeply structured into the system of relationships, within socio-economic and political arrangements, and even in the culture of a society and of a global system. Therefore, systemic violence can in turn be a root causes of conflict, as well a behavioural response to a specific conflict situation.Johan Galtung (1969), made a clear distinction between Structural Violence, Cultural Violence and Direct Violence. These ideas are connected to his distinction depending on how it operates between three inter-related forms of violence (Structural-Cultural-Direct) where Structural Violence is at the left end and Cultural Violence is at the right end of the base of a Triangle invisibly while Direct violence is on the vertex visibly.According to Galtung’s Violence Triangle (1969), Cultural and Structural Violence cause Direct Violence. Direct Violence reinforces Structural and Cultural violence. Direct Violence, Physical and/or verbal, is visible as behaviour in the triangle. However, this action does not come out of nowhere; its roots are cultural and structural.Direct violence can take many forms. In its classic form, it involves the use of physical force, like killing or torture, rape and sexual assault, and beatings. Further, we understand that verbal violence, like humiliation or put downs, is also becoming more widely recognised as violence.  Johan Galtung, further, describes direct violence as the “avoidable impairment of fundamental human needs or life which makes it impossible or difficult for people to meet their needs or achieve their full potential. Threat to use force is also recognised as violence.”Cultural violence is the prevailing attitudes and beliefs that we have been taught since childhood and that surround us in daily life about the power and necessity of violence. We can consider the example of telling of history which glorifies records and reports wars and military victories rather than people’s nonviolent agitation, movements, rebellions or the triumphs of connections and collaborations. Almost all cultures recognise that killing a person is murder, but killing tens, hundreds or thousands during a declared conflict is called ‘war’ or killing of innocent people by the security forces are often declared as caught in the crossfire.Structural violence exists when some groups, classes, genders, nationalities, etc are assumed to have, and in fact do have, more access to goods, resources, and opportunities than other groups, classes, genders, nationalities, etc, and this unequal advantage is built into the very social, political and economic systems that govern societies, states and the world. These tendencies may be overt such as Aparthied or more subtle such as traditions or tendency to award some groups privileges over another. Constitutional privileges of Job reservations and financial supports in the name of the welfare of the “tribes or backwards” and non-uniform land law, which bans one group to own landed property in their own land while other groups are free to own landed property wherever they want are also examples of structural violence.Theories of structural violence explore how political, economic and cultural structures result in the occurrence of avoidable violence, most commonly seen as the deprivation of basic human needs (will be discussed later). Structural theorists attempt to link personal suffering with political, social and cultural choices. Johan Galtung’s original definition included a lack of human agency; that is the violence is not a direct act of any decision or action made by a particular person but a result of an unequal distribution of resources.Here, we must also understand “institutional violence”. “Institutional violence” is often mistaken for structural violence, but this is not the case. “Institutional violence” should be used to refer to violence perpetrated by institutions like companies, universities, corporations, organisations as opposed to individuals. The fact that women are paid less at an establishment than men is an act of direct violence by that specific establishment. It is true that there is a relationship with structural violence as there is between interpersonal violence and structural violence. And Structural violence is the most problematic area to be addressed for conflict transformation.
By Rajkumar Bobichandhttps://www.galtung-institut.de/en/network/groups/anything-galtung/forum/topic/understanding-galtungs-violence-triangle-and-structural-violence/
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Harare, Zimbabwe
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Structural Violence
I had not heard of this term before, I find it very helpful as well. It is so important to address this type of violence since it is often these issues that are at the route of the physical violence. read more
Seattle, United States
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Structural Violence
I had not heard the term “structural violence” prior to the videos with Dr. Richardson.  However, I immediately understood and felt excited that someone is addressing this topic.
As a resident of the United States, we have seen an uprising among black Americans seeking equality in the enforcement of laws by police.  Much of the population (white Americans) cannot relate to what is happening, placing blame with black communities.  This is where, in my world, I can directly relate to the term “structural violence” whereby someone comes in with the agenda to “help” and due to ulterior motives undermines the underlying values of a community without trying to connect or understand that community.
We do see this in the topics that we have been covering, however, we also see in some places where attempts are made to understand and respect local culture.  One example we saw with Zainaba in Mauritania is rather than denounce completely FGM, a more compassionate version of the practice was instructed even if only a stop gap to the cessation of the practice.  Isha Daramy of Sierra Leone also refers to it as she recommended to the first conference to eradicate female circumcision in Addis Ababa in 1990, that the place to start was with Soweis and the traditional birth attendants so that the practice may die a natural death.  However, the attempts to shame the practice by calling it “barbaric” only accelerated it because people were annoyed with the approach.  By recognizing “structural violence” and its affects on communities, people can look inwards at their own agendas and hopefully find alternative and truthful ways to assist the people in need of help.
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Las Vegas, United States
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Structural Violence
Dr Richardson is saying the same thing that Dr Farmer indicated, namely that gender inequality, racism and lack of education , all types of structural violence, are the underlying reasons for AIDS/HIV prevalence in young women. Deal with the social situations so that you have a greater likelihood of improvement than technical/medical solutions, namely giving out pills. read more
Modesto, United States
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Structural Violence
Dr Richardson presented some thoughtful and, in many ways, common sense approaches to how to combat AIDS. I appreciate the term Structural Violence because it allows the observer to see a situation in a broader sense. A system or government may not be harming their people with outright physical violence but still doing harm my accepting practices that get the same negative result.
I can can imagine his frustration when trying to be an agent for change when a "simple pill" suggests the same result.
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Melbourne Beach, United States
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Richardson reaction
Dr. Richardson’s videos were interesting in the way that he approached health originally from a medicinal background which changed into a human science and social science background as he studied anthropology at doctorate level. He sees anthropology as the handmaiden of colonialism and it is hard to ignore the fact that where there are such high levels of gender inequality, many of these countries were colonised, so is it all the fault of the colonisers? I think that he highlights the importance of a holistic approach to development.  read more
London, United Kingdom
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