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Mapping The Violence in Colombia Essay

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Mapping The Violence in Colombia

The peace researcher Johan Galtung proposes a typology of violence, constructed as direct and indirect, formal-informal and visible-invisible. Regarding it as a triangle, Galtung (1990) states that typology of violence corresponds roughly to the ‘ABC’ levels of the conflict triangle: Attitude, Behaviour and Contradictions. In the first level Direct violence (acts of violence as such) and in second and third level underneath the surface; Structural violence and Cultural violence. See figure below.

The ‘Structural Violence’ concept by Galtung (1969) asserts that the structure and culture in societies are a central facet on the explanation of violence; thus, ‘human beings are being influenced so that their somatic and mental realisations are below their potential’. The author distinguishes two types of outcomes of violence: a) effect that violence has; and b) the form of violence. The first is violence manifested on either person-to-person basis (such as familiar violence) or conflict confrontation (i.e. shooting). In the second one, the forms of violence are manifested within society, in its systems and institutionalised practices, and also violence as social phenomena and its constructions in mass media. This will set the basis for the next section to contextualise the multiple causes of violence in conflict situations, such as the case of Colombia, in order to understand the journalism coverage and the development of peace initiatives. I consider it important to analyse profound violence because of its complexity, diverse variables and causes involved, such as social, economic, political and psychological causes that help to comprehend this society and its journalism with violent and ...


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... studies on violence as the following: ‘literary-anthropological (urban scenarios focused on gangs); studies centred in psychological and individual effects of violence (kidnap); analysis of perceptions on violence in all its manifestations, from every-day life; and the internally displaced because of violence”.

Violence and sacrifice are two concepts constantly seen in Colombian social imagery; the guerrillas, the paramilitary and political parties propose that it is necessary to sacrifice in order to achieve social goals. Therefore, the sacrifice of martyrs and innocent civilians is justified in either side by demagogic discourse. The notion of sacrifice is also seen in the journalists; the majority of those I interviewed (who were threatened and have been in exile) also exercise the notion of sacrifice for their profession and country by doing their work.



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