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Theory and Ideologies of Violence

Jean-Pierre Derriennic
Journal of Peace Research
Vol. 9, No. 4 (1972), pp. 361-374
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/422517
Page Count: 14
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Theory and Ideologies of Violence
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Abstract

Accepting Galtung's definition of violence (the difference between the potential and the actual), it is possible to suggest a framework of analysis different from his: Violence can be direct or indirect, organized or inorganized, actual or potential. What Galtung calls 'structural violence' becomes in this framework indirect organized violence, and can be actual or potential. These distinctions allow a better grasp of different aspects of structural violence. Using this definition of violence it is possible to analyze nonviolence which does not appear as the opposite of violence, but as a strategy of minimization of violence. Galtung's and Höivik's method of operationalization offers a way to compare direct and indirect violence, and as such can help to solve some problems of political choice. It implies that one accepts a 'responsibility ethics' perspective rather than a 'conviction ethics' one. However, a theory on violence must not overlook ideologies on violence. Violence must not be studied only from the point of view of objective needs, but must also take into account the goals people have, and their perception of violence. This perception is dependent on two main factors: violence is often identified with what people are frightened of, and with illegitimate behavior.

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