Symbolic violence

The concept of symbolic power was first introduced by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu to account for the tacit almost unconscious modes of cultural/social domination occurring within the every-day social habits maintained over conscious subjects. Symbolic power accounts for discipline used against another to confirm that individual's placement in a social hierarchy. Also referred to as "soft" power, symbolic power includes actions that have discriminatory or injurious meaning or implications, such as gender dominance and racism. Symbolic power maintains its effect through the mis-recognition of power relations situated in the social matrix of a given field. While symbolic power requires a dominator, it also requires the dominated to accept their position in the exchange of social value that occurs between them. [edit]History The concept of symbolic power may be seen as grounded in Friedrich Engels' concept of false consciousness. To Engels, under capitalism, objects and social relationships themselves are embedded with societal value that is dependent upon the actors who engage in interactions themselves.[1] Without the illusion of natural law governing such transactions of social and physical worth, the proletariat would be unwilling to consciously support social relations that counteract their own interests. Dominant actors in a society must consciously accept that such an ideological order exists for unequal social relationships to take place. Louis Althusser further developed it in his writing on what he called Ideological State Apparatuses, arguing that the latter's power is partly based on symbolic repression.[2] The concept of symbolic power was first introduced by Pierre Bourdieu in his writing Distinction. Bourdieu suggested that cultural roles are more dominant than economic forces in determining how hierarchies of power are situated and reproduced across societies. Status and economic capital are both necessary to maintain dominance in a system, rather than just ownership over the means of production alone. The idea that one could possess symbolic capital in addition and set apart from financial capital played a critical role in Bourdieu's analysis of hierarchies of power. For example, in the process of reciprocal gift exchange in the Kabyle society of Algeria, where there is asymmetry in wealth between the two parties the better endowed giver "can impose a strict relation of hierarchy and debt upon the receiver." [3] Symbolic power, therefore, is fundamentally the imposition of categories of thought and perception upon dominated social agents who, once they begin observing and evaluating the world in terms of those categories and without necessarily being aware of the change in their perspective then perceive the existing social order as just. This, in turn, perpetuates a social structure favored by and serving the interests of those agents who are already dominant. Symbolic power is in some senses much more powerful than physical violence in that it is embedded in the very modes of action and structures of cognition of individuals, and imposes the specter of legitimacy of the social order. Victimology is the study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system that is, the police and courts, and corrections officials and the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements.[1] Victimology is however not restricted to the study of victims of crime alone but may include other forms of human rights violations. In criminology and criminal law, a victim of a crime is an identifiable person who has been harmed individually and directly by the perpetrator, rather than by society as a whole. However, this may not always be the case, as with victims of white collar crime, who may not be clearly identifiable or directly linked to crime against a particular individual. Victims of white collar crime are often denied their status as victims by the social construction of the concept (Croall, 2001). Not all criminologists accept the concept of victimization or victimology.[citation needed] The concept also remains a controversial topic within women's studies.[citation needed] The Supreme Court of the United States first recognized the rights of crime victims to make a victim impact statement during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial in the case of Payne v. Tennessee 501 U.S. 808 (1991). A victim impact panel is a form of community-based or restorative justice in which the crime victims (or relatives and friends of deceased crime victims) meet with the defendant after conviction to tell the convict about how the criminal activity affected them, in the hope of rehabilitation or deterrence. [edit]Consequences of crimes Emotional distress as the result of crime is a recurring theme for all victims of crime. The most common problem, affecting three quarters of victims, were psychological problems, including: fear, anxiety, nervousness, self-blame, anger, shame, and difficulty sleeping.[2] These problems often result in the development of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Post crime distress is also linked to pre-existing emotional problems and sociodemographic variables. This has been known to become a leading case of the elderly to be more adversely affected.(Ferraro, 1995) Victims may experience the following psychological reactions: Increase in the belief of personal vulnerability. The perception of the world as meaningless and incomprehensible. The view of themselves in a negative light.[2] The experience of victimization may result in an increasing fear of the victim of the crime, and the spread of fear in the community.