Michigan State University

Understanding Structural Violence

Structural analyses of violence have become a critical component in understanding the resilience of racism and sexist racism in fields traditionally associated with cultural neutrality and objectivity, such as law and medicine. Drawing on recent work in philosophy, Indigenous studies and women of color feminisms, this talk examines the persistence of cultural power in prevailing analyses of violence. Professor Elena Ruiz will show that contemporary violence research, especially work that examines the nature and injustice of violence—what is violent, precisely, about violence—has remained subject to cultural prejudices and assumptions that are often complicit in the maintenance and preservation of structural oppressions against people of color. Structural analyses of violence are thus still limited without integrative approaches that include the work and perspectives of people of color, work that is often produced outside the disciplinary boundaries of the academy.

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