The first one is called Direct Violence
, and it's probably the one we think of when we hear the word 'violence' generally. So, like, hitting someone, verbal or physical assault, war.
The second is known as Structural Violence
. Meaning how societies or cultures are structured, and whether these structures oppress or do violence to certain groups and not others, thus making it more difficult to meet their basic needs. Obvious examples include racism, sexism and classism, and also what kind of economic system is involved, or how different ethnicities or regions are treated. Every society is structured in some way, and most have gender or racial structures.It might not be a direct manifestation of violence (no arms), it might not be overt but it's often still there.
Take the issue of Indigenous peoples in Canada – practically speaking, Heather says, there is a strong history of oppression but not a strong history of direct violence. There are some moments of violence, like with certain protests or the Oka Crisis, but for the most part the violence here is structural.
For example, in Ontario there's less education-allocated money spent per child when living on a reservation rather than in a typical Canadian city. This, for Heather, is an example of structural violence that affects an ethnic and cultural group. That's not to mention the history of residential schools or early white-settler/Indigenous contact.
The third point to the triangle is Cultural Violence
, which often relates to the different (and in this case violent) narratives that produce themselves in a society. Think of the media, but also about art, jokes, films, literature, advertisement and so on – what kinds of people are presented, what do they look like, are they presented as the norm in this society, who isn't presented (think of disabled people, for example). Cultural violence can also take the form of essays that people write that confront or marginalize particular groups, with or without intending to. There can be a lot of overlap with structural violence here. In fact, all three can be said to be part of a spectrum – a continuum.
There's a lot of debate about what should or should not be seen as violence. Heather brings up how some people call malnutrition and undernourishment as violence, especially in cases where people can't afford food or if there's an extractive economic system.
Then there are another three categories, this time corresponding to stages of a conflict: pre-conflict, conflict and post-conflict.
In pre-conflict stages, it's about what's bubbling to the surface in a society that's not actively in an armed conflict (yet).
Societies that are within a conflict are awfully hard to theorize about because we don't have enough distance or data to be able to draw conclusions with. If we take everything that's orbiting BLM as a conflict, for example, it's hard to analyze what's happening. Are the protesters thugs, making BLM a violent movement? Is it for the most part a peaceful movement with certain people using it as an opportunity for violence.
This is a hot debate right now, but how do we analyze something like this? It's far too easy to walk away with an interpretation that you like, but one look at the news (if you look at multiple sources of news) is enough to be reminded that the debate is still going strong. When trying to find data, the question of how we know what's happening (and how can we be sure of our data) are constantly wrestled with.
The third stage, post-conflict, opens up the whole world of conflict resolution. It's a big subject, and it's also difficult to pronounce judgements on certain things. When is a conflict 'resolved', for example? There are strategies like mediation, diplomacy, victory or invasion, and there can be violent or non-violent means of resolving.
When referring to diplomacy, there are also three tracks we can talk about (three being the magic number). Negotiations, meetings and discussions
can take place at: