Social-structural violence against the poor

414vf5wMHcL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_At long last, I am now able to put the article Jane and I wrote included in this publication of the Oxford University Press; Chapter 17, Socio-structural violence against the poor

Since the time when the Thatcher administration created their violent hate crimes against the working classes, successive governments and now May’s became even more hostile and violent. But how did our governments and their rich cronies manage to brainwash vast swathes of the British public into thinking that their violent crimes against the poor and most vulnerable were justified?

And how did they also managed to coerce middle-classes professional people into participating in their evil deeds which has resulted in the heart breaking mental torture and the premature deaths of thousands upon thousands of their own fellow human citizens?


  • Click here to read the full article
  • Click here to buy the book Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives



Click here to buy the book

Here are some excerpts:

  • By violence, we mean the knowing and deliberate inflicting of harm. It is beyond doubt that harm is being inflicted, and that it is consequent on economic and social policies pursued in the full knowledge that such harm will result.
  • The term ‘socio-structural violence’ captures the systematic ways in which social, political, economic, and cultural practices combine to cause early and avoidable death, harm, disadvantage, fear, insecurity, and marginality for particular groups of people. Some authors have broadened the concept to include that which violates basic needs, rights, and the individual’s intrinsic dignity as, for instance, enumerated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 (Fryer and McCormack 2012; Galtung 1990).
  • This form of cultural violence can be seen to move and harden public opinion against the welfare state by devaluing, stigmatizing, and blaming particular groups (see also Chapter 16). It ‘preaches, teaches, admonishes, eggs on and dulls us into seeing repression as normal
  • Cathy: ‘The singer Frankie Vaughan and the media circus that followed him made my community in Easterhouse famous for its gang warfare in the 1960s. But there has never been any public recognition of the very deep political and spiritual violence that is constantly being inflicted on the hearts, minds and spirits of the unemployed, the poor and the most vulnerable people in our society.’
  • In contrast, the UK Coalition government’s programme is (literally) having deadly side effects, with Stuckler citing the UK as ‘one of the clearest expressions of how austerity kills’ (Henley 2013). The authors comment that it was not only the dire impacts of the policies they found troubling, but also the heartlessness of the policymakers who have so vigorously endorsed them. They state that the impact of this financial crisis goes far beyond people losing their homes and jobs; rather it is a full-scale assault on people’s health. Worsening health is not an inevitable consequence of economic recessions, it is a political choice.
  • Work ‘capability assessments’, currently carried out on those on incapacity benefit by the multinational private corporation Atos on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, have been subject to allegations of harm and distress. Criticism has come from leading clergy, disability organizations, and claimants. Michael Meacher, Labour MP, opening a debate in the House of Commons asked how the insensitive rigour with which 1.6 million claimants on incapacity benefit were being assessed by Atos could be justified when ‘it has led, according to the Government’s own figures, to 1,300 persons dying after being put into the work-related activity group, 2,200 people dying before their assessment is complete, and 7,100 people dying after being put into the support group?’ (Meacher, 2013)

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