Violence, War, and Their Impact. On Visible and Invisible Effects of Violence


Galtung, J. (2004). “Violence, War, and Their Impact. On Visible and Invisible Effects of Violence”. In polylog, Forum for Intercultural Philosophy, 5. Amberg: polylog. Retrieved February 19, 2021 from

Work data:

ISSN: 1616-2943

Type of work: Article (academic)




he investigation pursued in this article seeks to contribute to a better, deeper understanding of violence, war and their effects – the visible and particularly also the invisible ones. Ultimately, this should assist to prepare the grounds for a lasting peace process. The formation of violence can be differentiated into direct violence (its visible aspect), and structural and cultural violence (its invisible aspects). These are the three corners of a »triangle of violence«. After discussing the role of reciprocity and revenge as well as intention and irresversibility when dealing with trauma and guilt, central aspects of violence are thematised with the help of a table; this table lays out the material and visible effects of violence in opposition to the non-material invisible ones using the following six dimensions: nature, humans, society, world, time, and culture. In conclusion, an alternative conception of violence is sketched out, with reference to different ideas of conflict, violence, and peace. It is suggested that this conception will be able to indicate means of overcoming violence and lead to a culture of peace.