Structural Violence and Relative Deprivation: Precursors to Collective Political Violence in Sierra Leone   [open pdf - 421KB]

From the Document: "After more than five decades of independence in many Sub-Saharan African states, the widespread lack of basic human needs is still pervasive, permeative, permanent, and visible in the region. In particular, insecurities are endemic in the areas of food, health, politics, and income, among others. The objective of this analysis is to examine how the combination of structural violence and relative deprivation are associated with and/or were predictors of civil strife in Sierra Leone between 1991 and 2002. In other words, the focus is on analyzing one key question: In what ways did structural violence deepen insecurities and intensify relative deprivation in Sierra Leone and contribute to civil war? The presence of human insecurities of food, health, politics, community, environment, and individual mean that violence can be both psychological and physical, and result in not just relative deprivation but in abject poverty thereby destroying human securities that are essential for a stable national political economy. In other words, inherent in structural violence is psychological harm, political and economic deprivation due to corrupt and insensitive political-economic and sociocultural structures. In other words, as is the case in many war-ravaged countries, it is frustration and anger associated with institutional policies or governmental actions that eventually contribute to the eruption of ethnic bloodletting."

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