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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter makes the case for the necessity of a multi-focal conception of violence in religion and peacebuilding. It first traces the emergence and development of the analytical concepts of structural and cultural violence in peace studies, demonstrating how these lenses draw central insights from, but also differ from and improve upon, critical theory and reflexive sociology. It argues that addressing structural and cultural forms of violence—perhaps especially in non-deadly manifestations—are concerns as central as addressing direct (explicit, personal) and deadly forms of violence for building just and sustainable peace. It argues, further, that religiously informed and/or motivated peacebuilders are especially well-appointed and equipped to identify and address violence in its structural and cultural manifestations. The chapter then examines how concepts of structural and cultural violence centrally inform the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr. and Cornel West to cultivate just and sustainable peace in a context as putatively peaceful and prosperous as the United States.

Keywords: structural violence, cultural violence, symbolic violence, Johan Galtung, Pierre Bourdieu, Cornel West, Martin Luther King Jr., Herbert Marcuse, critical theory

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