Symbolic violence is the kind of gentle, invisible, pervasive violence that is exercised through cognition and misrecognition, knowledge and sentiment, often with the unwitting consent or complicity of the dominated. It is embedded in the very modes of action and structures of cognition of individuals, and imposes the spectre of legitimacy of the social order characterised by masculine domination. Manifestations of symbolic violence give recognition to structural and direct violence.
See also: direct violence; indirect violence; structural violence
(1) Bourdieu, P. (2001). Masculine Domination, Cambridge, Polity; (2) Galtung, J. (1990), ‘Cultural Violence’, Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 27, No 3.