Kai Frithof Brand-Jacobsen
“Cultural Violence are the ideas, values and belief systems, world-views and cosmologies which make violence seem normal, acceptable, correct, or the best/only option, the good, the ‘chosen’/‘sacred’ path. Examples of cultural violence include those elements of cultures and values which legitimize ‘untouchability’, patriarchy, the exploitation of women, workers and the young, unequal development, concentration of power and wealth in the hands of certain castes/classes/families/nations, etc., beliefs in the superiority of one group, gender, caste, nationality, over another. Belief systems and values which make the structures of violence seem legitimate or seek to enforce them as ‘good’ or the only option/the way things are, the need to ‘crush’ the other side, to ‘eliminate’ them; discrimination against people because of their language, religion, gender, culture, nationality or group. Also: values which legitimize violence as good when used in a ‘noble/just’ cause, or when used against the evil ‘other’, ie. violence is acceptable/legitimate because we are fighting against an unacceptable system/structure or against bad/evil actors. Cultural violence is also the belief that ‘I/we can’t do anything’, that violence is normal, that only those ‘with power’ (politicians, combatants, soldiers, generals/presidents/kings/god/, foreign organisations) can do anything to overcome/solve it or change things, ie. that ‘we’, as people, are powerless. Or that ‘power comes from the barrel of a gun’: therefore, for us to have power, we must pick up the gun. Forms of cultural violence are impressed and internalized in all of us, through our upbringing, exposure to culture and the media, myths, national anthems, monuments, folk tales, songs, jokes, education, street signs. Often, even movements working to overcome violence and exploitation, including nonviolent movements and struggles, can be affected by a war culture approach to conflicts and social change"