Neoliberalism, Societal Trauma, and Marginalized Voice
Edited By Jeremy A. Rinker and Jerry T. Lawler
Current neoliberal social and economic realities have had enormous impacts on the abilities of oppressed groups and marginalized communities to realize resistance and innate resiliencies. How does the ubiquity of neoliberal economic forces exacerbate traumatized populations’ helplessness, and, thereby, influence their inability to grapple with their oppressors and engage in fruitful change solutions? This edited volume asks how nonviolent conflict practitioners might intervene to ‘treat’ traumatized, and often marginalized, populations suspended in the predicament of ‘acting in’ and ‘acting out’ their collective traumas. Treating trauma is an integral aspect of successful peacebuilding work. This work aims to explore the role of trauma in peacebuilding and illuminate the ways that neoliberal marginalization impacts trauma-informed peace work.
Chapter One: Neoliberalism as a Violence System (Michael Minch)
Neoliberalism as aViolence System
For peace, conflict, and justice studies scholars, it is a commonplace that neoliberalism produces violence. It is a common view that violence is a tragic byproduct of neoliberalism. The argument I make is different than this assumption or viewpoint. I argue that neoliberalism is violence. This is to say, necessarily, neoliberalism exists to produce violence. Of course, my claim does not mean that violence is the only production of neoliberalism, but it does mean that neoliberalism is structured, or “built,” to produce violence. That is, violence is an important purpose of neoliberalism.
It is standard in our field to see violence in structural, and even, systemic terms. Therefore, many of us see conflict transformation as necessarily embodied in cultural, structural, and system forms. In short, if violence is a system, conflict transformation must be a system, because only a system replaces a system. But my argument is that neoliberalism is a system that exists as a consequence and production of violence, in feedback loops that amplify the system. If neoliberalism can be shown to have critical systemic forms, dynamics, flows, and ecologies, then we can look at what the system is meant to produce and what it produces. If the result of those inquiries and analyses is violence, then it follows that neoliberalism is a violence system. Notice that I am using the word “violence” rather than “conflict” in conjunction with the conception and claim of neoliberalism as...
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