1st Edition

Cultural Violence and the Destruction of Human Communities New Theoretical Perspectives

Edited By Fiona Greenland, Fatma Müge Göçek Copyright 2020
    216 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume brings together leading sociologists and anthropologists to break new ground in the study of cultural violence. First sketched in Raphael Lemkin’s seminal writings on genocide, and later systematically defined by peace studies scholar Johan Galtung, the concept of cultural violence seeks to explain why and how language, symbols, rituals, practices, and objects are so frequently in the crosshairs of socio-political change. Recent conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia, along with renewed public interest in the repertoire of violence applied to the control and erasure of indigenous populations, highlights the gaps in our understanding of why cultural violence occurs, what it consists of, and how it relates to other forms of collective violence.

    1. Introduction

    Fatma Müge Göçek, University of Michigan and Fiona Greenland, University of Virginia

    Part I: Definitions and Parameters

    2. The Genocidal Pressures on Indigenous Peoples: Capitalism’s Cultural and Environmental Violence

    Damien Short, School of Advanced Studies, University of London

    3. Raphaël Lemkin: Genocide, Cultural Violence, and Community Destruction

    Douglas Irvin-Erickson, George Mason University

    4. Linguistic Genocide

    Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Abo Akademi University, Finland

    Part II: Epistemological Dimensions

    5. The Interconnected Histories of South African and American Sociology: Knowledge in the Service of Colonial Violence

    Zine Magubane, Boston College

    6. Jerusalem and Violence: The transformation of secular and sacred interpretations

    Mark Ayyash, Mount Royal University

    7. Monumental destruction and ontological violence in the Islamic State

    Fiona Greenland, University of Virginia

    Part III: Spatial and Material Dimensions

    8. Community Destruction, Museum Collections and the Work of Resilience

    Alaka Wali, Curator of North American Anthropology, Field Museum

    9. Tahrir, and The Many Faces of Violence in the Egyptian Revolution

    Atef Said, University of Illinois at Chicago

    10. An Unraveling Landscape: Harput and Mezre during Turkey’s Transition from Empire to Republic

    Zeynep Kezer, Newcastle University


    Fiona Greenland is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, USA.

    Fatma Müge Göçek is Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and the University of Michigan, USA.

    "Social scientists have long understood that ontological security is not limited to physical well-being. Symbolic and structural violence also threaten human flourishing, just as social stability can conceal the founding violence that benefits some at the expense of others. In an age of cultural destruction, this timely book explores its various modalities and sets out a new research agenda." - Dirk Moses, University of Sydney, Australia

    "In this collection, editors Greenland (Univ. of Virginia) and Göçek (Univ. of Michigan) outline the importance of cultural violence in a modern world where “intra-state violence [has] left the battlefield” (p. 1). Essays offer far-ranging theoretical discussions of cultural violence, examining definitions, the production of knowledge, and the effects of cultural violence on material culture and landscape; they stand out for sustaining engagement with theory and providing case studies. Cultural violence overlaps with genocide, as the work of Raphael Lemkin has shown, and the essays here also discuss cultural violence carried out against language, art, and artifacts. Indeed, cultural violence even remakes landscapes as in Turkey after genocide, where “relentless violence permanently destroyed Harput-Mezre’s complex cultural landscapes” (p. 191). Chapters document cultural violence as a threat to indigenous peoples, the destruction carried out by ISIS, and the complicity of museums “in practices of cultural violence” (p. 143). Combining theoretical approaches and case studies, the contributors demonstrate how to employ the concept of cultural violence for understanding other forms of violence, but the sheer range of possible examples also raises questions about how to identify the boundaries of cultural violence. As a guide to the theory of cultural violence, this volume will be useful for graduate collections." - B. Lieberman, Fitchburg State University, CHOICE Library Magazine Recommended title