violence = 'personal or social domination of any kind'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 13 18:12:53 UTC 2010

I doubt much that this is a "resurrection," largely because it seems to have
originated in French (the language of the _philosophes_), and because it
a supposedly insightful assertion of equivalence, or even identity, between
actual violence and metaphorical violence - which may not be "violent" at

Technically, Bourdieu considers domination to be "symbolic violence."  But,
as in the cite, he, as well as his followers, easily slip into the use of
the word "violence" to cover what is more subtle (and therefore more mundane
and boring) than actual violence.

Random example (the first one produced by a GB search for "violence against

1996 National Research Council _Understanding Violence against Women_
[Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press] 9: The term violence against
women has been used to describe a wide range of acts including murder, . . .
emotional abuse, . . . sexual harassment, and pornography.


On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 12:40 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: violence = 'personal or social domination of any kind'
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A resurrection?  Of:
> "{dag}6. Violation of some condition. Obs.{em}1
> a1754 FIELDING Remedy Afflict. Wks. 1775 IX. 251 Nor is there any
> dissuasive from such contemplation [of the loss of friends]: it is no
> breach of friendship, nor violence of paternal fondness."  [The OED's
> only quote.]
> I can imagine the notion is that the usurer has violated some term of
> the social contract under which money is lent, or the master of some
> element of proper treatment of a servant.
> But I share Jon's (surmised) distaste.
> Joel
> At 11/13/2010 11:19 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >Not in OED but common among postmodern sociologists:
> >
> >1990 Pierre Bourdieu _The Logic of Practice_  (R. Nice, trans.) [Stanford:
> >Stanford U. P.] 127: [O]vert violence, that of the usurer or the ruthless
> >master, is collectively disapproved of and is liable to provoke either a
> >violent riposte or the flight of the victim.
> >
> >The French text was written in 1980.
> >JL
> >
> >--
> >"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> truth."
> >
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> The American Dialect Society -

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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