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Book: And Then Your Soul is Gone

Chapter: Moral Injury and Structural Violence

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.41860


Chapter Two investigates three pillars of structural violence embedded in the war-culture of the United States that inevitably are linked to the development of military moral injury: 1) the permanent war economy, 2) the U.S. “empire of bases,” and 3) the reverberations of “interpenetration,” as the structures of militarization continuously interact with and influence countless sites of supposed “civilian” life in the United States. Many scholars have written with compelling urgency about the destructive forces of structural violence in U.S. war-culture, yet seemingly paradoxically, most U.S. citizens appear to be unconcerned and/or unaware. I draw from the theory of Latin American Liberation theologian, Jon Sobrino of El Salvador, who characterizes the contemporary world by way not only of its structural and cultural violence, but also its practices of concealment of both injustice and violence. One of the most significant concealers of the devastation of war-culture involves the role of religion; Chapter Two explores how sacrificial rhetoric and cognitive framing rising from religious and civil religious sources mask and reframe violence. Lastly, the concept of “the grey zone” from writer Primo Levi is introduced as a frame that helps us better understand the ambiguity faced by servicemembers and veterans in the world-turned-upside-down of structural violence in both war and war-culture.

Chapter Contributors

  • Kelly Denton-Borhaug ( - kdentonborhaug) 'Moravian College'