Four Types of Violence
 
 
 
Personal or Institutional Role of Actor     Overt or Covert Effect of Action
Moral Responsibility in Individual Action  Moral Ambiguity of Institutional Roles
Conscious Hurt /Offense    Structural Harm/Oppression

 
Overt Personal Violence

Clear: mugging, rape, and murder

Debated: defend law, benefit person
--reasonable restraint vs police brutality
--corporal punishment vs child abuse
 
 

Overt Institutional Violence

Clear: civil war, international war

Debated: capital punishment, riots
--legitimate execution vs state murder
--organized strike vs spontaneous Outburst
 
 

Covert Personal Violence

Clear: verbal abuse, psychological abuse

Debated: threats
--may avoid overt personal violence
--individual responsible, if carry out
 
 

Covert Institutional Violence

Clear: slavery, colonialism, ghettos

Debated: deterrence
--may avoid overt institutional violence
--state responsible, if carry out
 
 

 

Based on Newton Garver, "What Violence Is."  The Nation  209 (June 24, 1968), pp. 817-822.