Johan Galtung

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Person.png Johan Galtung  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Johan Galtung.jpg
Oslo, Norway
Alma materUniversity of Oslo
Founder ofPRIO, Structural violence

Western Community

“One basic formula for understanding the Community is this: 'Take five broken empires, add the sixth one later, and make one big neo-colonial empire out of it all.”
Johan Galtung [1]

Structural Violence

“We shall refer to the type of violence where there is an actor that commits the violence as personal or direct, and to violence where there is no such actor as structural or indirect. In both cases individuals may be killed or mutilated, hit or hurt in both senses of these words [i.e., physical and psychological], and manipulated by means of stick or carrot strategies. But whereas in the first case these consequences can be traced back to concrete persons as actors, in the second case this is no longer meaningful. There by not be any person who directly harms another in the structure. The violence is built into the structure and shows up as unequal power and consequently as unequal life chances.”
Johan Galtung (1969)  [2]

Violence with a clear subject-object relation is manifest because it is visible as action. ... Violence without this relation is structural, built into structure. Thus, when one husband beats his wife there is a clear case of personal violence, but when one million husbands keep one million wives in ignorance there is structural violence. Correspondingly, in a society where life expectancy is twice as high in the upper as in the lower classes, violence is exercised even if there are no concrete actors one can point to directly attacking others, as when one person kills another.”
Johan Galtung (1969)  [2]


Johan Galtung was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1987 for "his systematic and multidisciplinary study of the conditions which can lead to peace".


A Document by Johan Galtung

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)
Document:What Lies Ahead for Libyaarticle13 September 2011NATO
2011 Attacks on Libya
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  2. a b Violence, Peace, and Peace Research p. 171