Patrice Riemens on Tue, 13 Nov 2001 01:51:46 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Paul Farmer and 'Structural Violence'

(Bit difficult to keep one's mind concentrated after the latest news from 

The American (USA) antropologist and MD Paul Farmer has been awarded the
International professorship at the prestigious 'College de France' in
Paris. In a remarkable inaugural lecture he gave three days ago, and of
which large extracts have been printed in the colummns of Le Monde daily
(,5987,3232-243438-,00.html#) Paul Farmer
blames the bad faith maskerading as indifference that makes our global
society so abysmally unfair. To describe the powerful's denial of, not to
say outright agency in the suffering, the agony, and ultimately the
wholesale death of the poor from, among other, tuberculosis and AIDS, he
uses the concept of 'structural violence'. This the more striking since 
that word seems to have been banned from 'civilised' conversation for 
quite some time , and those still using it in speech or writing, risk 
being branded as 'terrorists' by various instances, up to those holding 
prosecutive power. It is to be hoped that its utterance by Paul Farmer, 
who is now in a position that has been exquisitely described by Michel 
Foucault in the very same space and circumstances ("Les Mots et les 
choses", or The Order of Things), will reestablish the term in its due 
place as an outstanding concept to describe the ills of our wretched 

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