The Bioarchaeology of Structural Violence: A Theoretical Model and a Case Study

Haagen D. Klaus

in The Bioarchaeology of Violence

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041506
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043876 | DOI:
The Bioarchaeology of Structural Violence: A Theoretical Model and a Case Study

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The act of simply noting the presence or absence of skeletal trauma is not enough; bioarchaeologists need to expand and take more into consideration as violence involves much more than trauma. As Haagen D. Klaus discusses in this chapter, structural violence is disparity related to health, nutrition, or quality of life that exists in one subgroup and not another as a result of social inequality. According to Klaus, however, structural violence does not exist in all societies but is likely present only in those cultures with established hierarchical systems where one group has coercive control over another group's well-being. This form of violence is often not considered violent because it is normalized within the society, which allows it to become endemic and persist over generations. The value of understanding structural violence for bioarchaeologists is that it provides an interpretive framework for understanding a broader spectrum of violence in the past.

Keywords: Structural violence; Social inequality; Health; Nutrition; Trauma; Ethnographic analogy

Chapter.  10584 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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