Violence as responsibility: neglecting structural violence

Keywords: violence, responsibility, structural violence, nonviolent, violent
Language: In Latvian

The paper focuses on the essence of violence and what an individual can do to prevent violence. Offering a brief analysis of the concept of violence, and focusing on the differences between everyday definitions and understanding, and by looking at different types of violence, the first part of the paper focuses on the concept of violence, its possible explanations and how understanding of violence affects daily practices. Showing the possible understanding of the term “violence”, and that the main understanding about violence as a direct action is not universally efficient, the author suggests looking at violence in broader terms than strength, power, aggressivity, viewing violence also in terms of silence and political correctness as possibly becoming more violent. The point is to show that not all violent acts necessarily are violence and not all nonviolent acts are nonviolent, thereby concluding that violence may be not only direct but indirect, misunderstood or even unnoticed.

The second part of the paper analyses violence as a potentiality, placing the subject in the field of everyday responsibility, analysing the idea of violence as an always possible and changing social phenomenon. Focusing on the question whether violence is even stoppable, the author suggests considering the issue of morals and the responsibility to create a system where violence could be just a possibility and not an actual event. Thinking that violence can always happen or follow even when everything goes according to a good purpose, in all cases suggests that the subject — the viewing and acting individual — is in a way responsible. Not only the individual is responsible for acting according to law or morals, but also, for decisions he did or did not make. While acknowledging that violence is always changing, as well as the moral standards, the individual should keep reasoning things that happen, actions he does and experiences. Eventually, the paper shows that only when a person considers violence not as a possibility that threatens his wellbeing, but as an uncompleted responsibility, he can see violence as the possible result of his actions, not as an event that could be caused by anyone else.