27 February 2023 | Updated
Provocation of "Unprovoked Aggression" by Encroachment
Challenge of insensitivity to collective historical amnesia
-- / --
Encroachment of bio-physical space
-- Territorial encroachment
-- Environmental encroachment
Encroachment of socio-political space
-- Group encroachment
-- Political encroachment
-- Legal and government encroachment
Encroachment of economic space
-- Encroachment of commercial space
-- Encroachment of profit-making
-- Industrial encroachment
-- Military encroachment
-- Encroachment of technology
Encroachment of psycho-cultural space
-- Communication encroachment
-- Encroachment of knowledge space
-- Ideological encroachment
-- Encroachment of symbolic space
Encroachment of inter-personal space
-- Encroachment of behavioural space
-- Encroachment of personal space
-- Sexual encroachment
-- Conceptual violence
-- Spiritual violence
Amended version of Varieties of Encroachment (2004) in the light of adoption by the 11th Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly of a resolution variously referring to the "unprovoked aggression" of the Russian Federation against Ukraine (GA/12492, 23 February 2023). This was preceded by a declaration to similar effect by US President Joe Biden (21 February 2023) and by a declaration (21 February 2023) by President Vladimir Putin justifying the Russian aggression
Since the formal commencement of the conflict, there has been extensive commentary condemning the recourse to force by the Russian Federation. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to that effect on 2 March 2022 (GA/12407). This condemnation has since been frequently echoed by the leaders of countries, most notably members of NATO and of the European Union, and by the mainstream media.
Expression of alternative perspectives has been limited -- and actively suppressed as "disinformation" whenever possible. Those articulating such perspectives have been discredited and personally condemned, if not actively sanctioned in some manner. Whilst condemning the aggression, the argument they have variously endeavoured to convey focuses on the sense in which Russia has perceived itself to be exposed to progressive encroachment -- even encirclement-- notably in support of an agenda of NATO and the USA towards the weakening of Russia (William Noah Glucroft, NATO: Why Russia has a problem with its eastward expansion, DW, 23 February 23, 2022; M. K. Bhadrakumar, Arc of encirclement appearing around Russia,Asia Times, 21 November 2021).
Evidence for this encroachment is vigorously denied as "disinformation". This is despite publicised declarations of Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande that the Minsk Agreements with Russia from 2014 were effectively a subterfuge to enable Ukraine to rearm itself without addressing the ongoing aggression from that time in the Donbass region (Holland backs up Merkel Revelation on Donbass Peace, Daily Telegraph, 31 December 2022).
The purpose in what follows is not to endeavour to disentangle such arguments -- if that were even possible in the current period. Rather the focus is on identifying examples of encroachment as a process. The equivalence between the various strategies of encroachment
is discussed separately (Errorism
vs Terrorism? Encroachment, Complicity, Denial and Terraism, 2004). In this version relatively little attention has been given to distinguishing between
"encroachment by xxxx" in contrast with "encroachment of yyyy"
or "encroachment on yyyy" -- which may be highly significant in some cases.
The different meanings tend to be indicated here in the same cluster.
There is a strange historic irony to the hypocrisy of righteous condemnation of Russia at this time by leaders of countries which have derived their wealth from colonial exploitation -- and from the slave trade. To what extent have both given rise to "unprovoked aggression" and massacres -- a historical process which may well be glorified in the engagement with indigenous peoples? (Lists of lists of massacres by country, 2022). Is that all too readily forgotten through skillfully crafted historic amnesia -- in which the United Nations is complicit? (Societal Learning and the Erosion of Collective Memory, 1980).
In accusing Russia, should the United Nations recognize the extent to which many countries have been proudly founded upon "unprovoked aggression" as a consequence of progressive colonial encroachment? What of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA. where unresolved wounds continue to fester -- as for many in the Global South? (Krishen Mehta, 5 Reasons Why Much of the Global South Isn’t Automatically Supporting the West in Ukraine, Globetrotter, October 2022). What of the imperial ambitions of other countries in the past century? Can such questions be simply dismissed as instances of "whataboutism"? In decrying "unprovoked aggression" by another at the present time, the colonising power at the origin of the formation of the named countries currently acknowledges no responsibility for the past and present consequences of engendering the associated aggression.
To circumvent accusations of double standards, hypocrisy and bias, this suggests the possibility that those Member States voting to condemn the action of another Member of the UN should be invited to recuse themselves (by abstention) -- if they can be deemed to have previously engaged in the process now considered worthy of condemnation (Recusal vs. Abstention, Robert's Rules Forum). The possibility of recusal is recognized in the case of individuals by the United Nations, to the point of offering a sample statement of recusal (Conflicts of Interest: Why Do They Matter? Participant's Guide and Materials, United Nations Leadership Dialogue, 2019). Motions for recusal feature in the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and with respect to the International Court of Justice (Chiara Giorgetti, The Challenge and Recusal of Judges of the International Court of Justice; R. Grant Hammond, Judicial Recusal Principles, Process and Problems, 2009). No such provision seems to have been considered in the case of Member States, especially where the conflict of interest may have a historical dimension.
To what voting patterns would recusal give rise -- or how might many votes be otherwise discounted where States are unable to acknowledge moral responsibility (claiming variants of plausible deniability)? In this regard, curiously missing is any data on Members indicative of when they themselves last engaged in the practices on which they are called upon to vote from a position of newly-found moral superiority.
The festering wound in Australia is exemplified by controversy over annual celebration of the arrival of colonists as Australia Day -- which the First Nations peoples call for recognition as Invasion Day. Ironically efforts to offer a constitutional Voice to Parliament for those First Nations peoples are currently called into question by the leader of the opposition -- who has now celebrated the UN resolution condemning Russia (Zelensky rallies world to keep up fight against evil, The Australian, 25 February 2023).
Encroachment of biophysical space
The following cases focus primarily on land and property defined by fixed boundaries:
- Encroachment across "national" territorial boundaries:
Throughout human history there are numerous examples of one people encroaching
on the territory of others. Territorial encroachment has often been fundamental
to the foreign policies of countries: Russia's recent concern at the encroachment
of NATO [more],
Britain's concern in the 1900s at the encroachment of the Boers on neighbouring
lands in southern Africa, the unwanted foreign encroachment experienced by
China (including Russian encroachment into Manchuria, 1899-1900), etc (see
also June Teufel Dreyer, Encroaching
On the Middle Kingdom? China's View of Its Place in the World 2002)
. In international law the principle of non-intervention between states specifically
excludes all kinds of territorial encroachment, including temporary or limited
operations (so-called "in-and-out operations"). Anytime one nation attacks
another without direct provocation, the attacking nation is guilty of territorial
encroachment, thus transgressing all international law.
- Encroachment on lands of indigenous peoples: Historically it is apparent
that indigenous peoples were exposed to the most blatant forms of territorial
encroachment, culminating in colonialism. Where the land was relatively unpopulated,
the indigenous population often only became aware of the negative consequences
after the settlers had effectively taken possession of the land. The problem
was exacerbated in those cases where the settlers claimed ownership under
a particular legal conception, whereas the indigenous population do not. The
progressive encroachment on Native American lands by Europeans, and their
subsequent restriction to reservations, offers a striking example. The process
continues in Latin America and notably with respect to the indigenous peoples
in the Amazon basin with the Latin American Association for Human Rights estimating
that half of Colombia's indigenous tribes face extinction because of the encroaching
encroachment process is legitimated and exacerbated by economic arguments
in support of mining, logging, the need for transportation networks, construction
of large dams (causing flooding of large areas). In promoting national development
through trade liberalization, structural adjustment and the promotion of foreign
direct investment, the World Bank routinely advises countries to rewrite national
mining codes to facilitate large-scale mining by foreign companies. These
revised mining codes are been pushed through without the participation of
indigenous peoples and without taking into account the interests and rights
of indigenous peoples [more].
In the Middle East the IDF is understood to be encroaching on Palestinian
Authority territory as a tactical measure to provide better security to its
forces and Jewish residents [more].
The International Red Cross has condemned Israel's "Wall" as encroaching on
the West Bank territory of Palestine [more].
Others suggest that it is Palestinians who are encroaching on Israeli territory,
not the other way round [more].
However the series of enclaves created by the Wall is also seen as emasculating
Palestinians in their fight for land against the ever-encroaching Jewish settlements
- Encroachment on neighbouring property: This the extension of any
building, improvement or structure located on one property (such as a wall,
fence or driveway) across a boundary line and onto adjoining property. Many
have been exposed to this form of encroachment, whether through occupation
of common frontage by a neighbour, growth or construction (or moving) of dividing
fences to the disadvantage of one neighbour, disposal of rubbish such as to
affect a neighbour, noisiness (power tools, music, etc) affecting a neighbour,
constraints on rights of access, obstruction of "ancient lights"
(such as by the growth of separating hedges), etc. The encroachment may be
purely visual, as when one neighbour prefers a degree of nudity in their garden
that is shocking to neighbours exposed to it, or exposure to treatment of
animals, or to odours generated by cooking or animal husbandry. Encroachment
by roots under boundary walls may also be a nuisance and cause damage.
- Encroachment by squatters: The progressive occupation of a property
by squatters may be undertaken in such a way that, even legally, it becomes
difficult to evict them.
- Encroachment by "travellers": People with a primarily
nomadic lifestyle (such as gypsies) may temporarily occupy common land, or
other property, in ways that come to be experienced by the inhabitants as
encroachment. The issue may be less the use of the land and more the infiltration
of the community by quite different standards of behaviour.
- Encroachment of government land: Such land encroachment (notably
into national park areas) may be undertaken by native peoples, graziers, miners,
slum-dwellers and others with vested interests. This may include the elites
of a country.
- Encroachment by refugees: People forced (or choosing) to move from
distant locations may occupy land (or take up employment) in such a way as
to be experienced as encroachment by the original inhabitants -- however well-intentioned
the latter in offering asylum (as in the case of Norway).
- Game simulation of territorial encroachment: Throughout world history,
the two most popular territorial games are the chess of the Western world,
and the wei ch'i of the East -- known in the West as the Japanese game of
"go". These exemplify the two basic approaches to this category
of games. Chess portrays the clash on a specific battle between two opposing
armies. Wei Ch'i is a metaphorical expression of a war between two countries
and involves broader strategic considerations of territorial encroachment.
Go has a greater emphasis on sacrifice than chess; it is often the case in
go that sacrifices, when part of a bigger plan, forms an important part of
The process in this case is often justified by the urgency of favouring "jobs"
(or "industry", "shelter", etc) over "environment":
- Urban encroachment on greenbelts: This process is typical of so-called
"green-field" "development" endeavouring to acquire space
for housing, factory or highway construction. It may be preceded by re-zoning
(where the rule of law is respected), but also occurs through uncontrolled
construction of slum-style dwellings on the outskirts of towns which may have
been formally declared to be greenbelt zones. Trees lining rural roads (as
in France) may be removed with the argument that they are the cause of fatal
accidents by drunken or speeding drivers.
- Encroachment on urban parkland, gardens and trees: Regulations governing
greenery in cities may be progressively modified in ways that ensure the removal
of trees, and the environmental degradation (or elimination) of gardens. Trees
beyond the fences of sensitive sites (airports, power stations, etc) may be
removed to prevent their use as cover by terrorists.
- Encroachment on wilderness areas: Nature was for hundreds of thousands
of years an enemy to encroaching man. Encroachment on nature and wilderness
habitats is now typified by the development of tourism in the form of walkers
needing networks of paths and the needs of all-terrain drivers for challenging
countryside(on which to test their vehicles and driving skills). Encroachment
may also be justified by the need to generate energy through the construction
of dams or wind farms, or the draining of lakes. The visionary sense of many
of the great nature poets, valued the momentary epiphanies of place and object
world as are rare events, to be preserved over against the encroaching destruction
of nature as well as the alienating features of city or man-made environment
-- making its beauty hard to apprehend.
- Encroachment on forest land: The issue of forest land encroachment
and its consequent impact has been debated at all levels -- national and international.
While the pro-encroachment lobby nationalizes encroachment of forest land
on the basis of tribal land rights issues, livelihood and subsistence needs
argument, the anti encroachment lobby points out the massive deforestation
and accompanying degradation and its implications on the ecological stability.[more]
- Encroachment through pollution: The widely-reported insidious increase
in the level of pollutants in the environment requires no comment concerning
their encroachment on the ecosystems and their consequent degradation or loss
- Desert encroachment: ****
- Salt-water encroachment: ****
- Flood plain encroachment: This concerns the encroachment by development
into plains that may be flooded very infrequently. [more]
- Bush encroachment: Bush encroachment affects the agricultural productivity
and biodiversity of certain regions, notably southern Africa. Bush encroachment
occurs in many arid regions where fuel loads are insufficient for fires to
be an important causal factor. Trees will outcompete grasses and bush encroachment
will result with current trends in carbon dioxide emissions exacerbating shifts
from grass to woody plant domination [more]
- Encroachment through species introduction: The encroachment of invasive
alien species eroding natural ecosystem is illustrated by classic cases such
as the innocent introduction of rabbits into Australia and the subsequent
need to engage in extremely violent and inhumane efforts to exterminate them.
The introduction of genetically modified species illustrates the related danger
in the case of traditional crops being progressively constrained by the modified
species with unforeseen results.
- Encroachment by wild animal groups: Animals living in groups tend
to control a geographic area, which is to say that de facto, the alpha male
and his allies own the geographic area. They defend their territory from encroachment
and seek to encroach upon surrounding territories. Encroachment involves periodic
stealthy forays into surrounding territory for the purpose of isolating and
killing an individual from another group.
- Smoking: This familiar case highlights the nature of the behavioural
context in which smoking initially appears to be a totally innocent activity.
However, with the accumulation of the incidence of smoking, not only is an
unpleasant environment created because of the smoke-filled air but the health
hazards associated with (passive) smoking gradually become apparent. The challenge
for the non-smoker regarding when, where and how to say "no" are
Encroachment of sociopolitical space
- Encroachment on group space: Groups, as with individuals, surround
themselves with an invisible area that functions as a boundary during group
interaction. This has been termed group space. Encroachment on group space
may occur when others perceive large physical distances separating group members
or when the group is mistaken for a crowd. The number of group members (determining
group physical size as group space) is perceived to increase as group membership
- Encroachment on a group: This case involves the abuse, even betrayal,
of good faith through infiltration of an individual into a group with intentions
inimical to the group's survival. The most common example is infiltration
of politically or ideologically active groups by their opponents, by intelligence/security
services, or by government authorities. This form of encroachment is characteristic
- Encroachment by a group on an individual: This process is notably
encountered in sects. Newcomers may be subjected to unexpected degrees of friendliness
from a group to gain confidence and evoke sympathy for the group. In this
form it is known as "love-bombing".
- Encroachment by a group on another group: This process has been publicized
in the case of feminist corporate executive groups seeking to breakthrough
the glass ceiling associated with the informal networks of their male colleagues.
This may be characterized as infiltration. Another example, in time of intervention
in response to crisis, is the encroachment by military forces on the humanitarian
space that is the normal field of action of NGOs [more]
- Encroachment of external interests on a group: There is often a tension
between the overt legitimizing function of cooptation which enhances its effectiveness
in dealing with its external environment and the covert encroachment external
interests on organizational power which deflects organizational activity from
its intended goal. This tension underlies much of the debate in European integration
between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism. [more]
- Ethnic encroachment: This is the case of the gradual increase in
a community of the proportion of people of "foreign" ethnic origin,
possibly as a result of a deliberate immigration policy, or possibly as refugees.
- Encroachment by the needy: In the case of education in need of special
assistance, the term is used by education officials and financial analysts.
It refers to money allegedly taken from funds for regular education to provide
special education services, on the assumption that there is a gap between
the money needed and the money provided. The argument is that school officials
should not have to comply with such a mandate if they do not receive enough
funds, although there is no agreement how much money is needed for special
education. Encroachment then becomes the jargon of the shakedown artist, who,
failing to extort more money, uses it as an excuse to resist the mandate itself.
- Gang encroachment: Gangs are usually territorial in nature, identifying
with a particular neighborhood and protecting their "turf" from encroachment
by other gangs. Gangs may encroach on neighbouring communities, institutions
(such as schools), terrorizing and intimidating law abiding citizens. They
may also encroach on each other's territory, notably in the case of organized
crime. Triggers for gang wars range from assaults on individuals to territorial
encroachment by other gangs
- Encroachment of power: For James Madison (Federalist
Papers, #48), as one of the framers of the American Constitution:
"It will not be denied, that power is of an encroaching nature, and that
it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to
it. After discriminating, therefore, in theory, the several classes of power,
as they may in their nature be legislative, executive, or judiciary, the next
and most difficult task is to provide some practical security for each, against
the invasion of the others. What this security ought to be, is the great problem
to be solved. Will it be sufficient to mark, with precision, the boundaries
of these departments, in the constitution of the government, and to trust
to these parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power?.... The
conclusion which I am warranted in drawing from these observations is, that
a mere demarcation on parchment of the constitutional limits of the several
departments, is not a sufficient guard against those encroachments which lead
to a tyrannical concentration of all the powers of government in the same
hands." In 1766, Jonathan Mayhew, pastor of Boston's West Church, and
one of the most celebrated men associated with early American opposition to
British tyranny, observed: "Power is of a grasping, encroaching nature, in
all beings, except in him, to whom it emphatically 'belongeth'; and who is
the only King that, in a religious or moral sense, 'can do no wrong. Power
aims at extending itself, and operating according to mere will, wherever it
meets with no balance, check, control or opposition of any kind. For which
reason it will always be necessary . . . for those who would preserve and
perpetuate their liberties, to guard them with a wakeful attention; and in
. . . just and prudent ways, to oppose the first encroachments on them. 'Obsta
Principiis.' After a while it will be too late." [more]
- Encroachment of the state on religion: This has been concern throughout
the history of the Catholic church exposed to encroachment on its inalienable
- Hegemonic encroachment: This form of encroachment has been variously
attributed to the USA (as the world's superpower seeking to establish a global
empire), to Western medicine (over alternative medicines), Hindu encroachment
of the essentially Sramanic values of nonviolence, or of languages such as
Mandarin (into Chinese areas of minority languages). In the form of imperial
encroachment, it has been a major concern for less powerful countries
throughout history, and more recently, to socialist and communist regimes
sensitive to imperialist capitalist encroachment. Countries such as UK, France,
Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland, all fought imperial
encroachment for centuries, and with respect to the European Union are hence
currently inclined to associate an overarching continental political authority
with the reappearance of the "Reich" in a new guise.
- Currency encroachment: The US attack on Iraq has caused that the
real reason for this was a defence of the US dollar against the use of the
Euro in oil exports and payments by OPEC member countries [more]
Legal and government encroachment
This is the process whereby other patterns of encroachment are given substance
through legislation, "red tape" and criminalization of alternative
- Encroachment by precedent creation: This process is currently the
subject of media attention in r elation to the marriage of gay couples. Where
this is accepted, the precedent is perceived by more conservative constituencies
as highly dangerous.
- Encroachment by legal directive: It is this process which is the
focus of much negative reaction amongst citizens of Europe faced with the
seemingly arbitrary imposition of numerous constraints on valued traditional
patterns of agriculture, husbandry and consumption. An "encroachment
permit" is a written permit authorizing certain work to be done within
a publicly maintained right-of-way.
- Encroachment on civil rights: This process has been highlighted by
the actions around the world in response to terrorism [more].
Legislation for which many have struggled to protect human rights is set aside
as a strategy supportive of "national security". Concern for the
stages of encroachment on civil rights has also been explored in relation
to the Second Amendment to the US Constitution [more].
For individual freedom to be viable, it must be a part of the shared values
of a society, and there must be an institutional framework to preserve it
against encroachments by majoritarian or government will. Even in societies
with a tradition of freedom, such as the USA, the values supporting that freedom
have suffered erosion and have proven an insufficient safeguard against encroachment
by the state. Moral outrage is a response to the encroachment on what people
perceive to be their immunities (and those of the groups and cultures with
whom they identify). These rights and privileges make up the contents of that
person's social persona and also constitute that person's social territory.
Infringements of rights and privileges in the social and symbolic worlds in
which humans live are the equivalent of encroachments on territory among animals.
Moral outrage has been explored as the human expression of what is perceived
as territorial behavior in animals.
Political rights have been defined as "freedom from encroachment" in contrast
to an understanding of economic rights as the "freedom to encroach."
- Encroachment on workers rights: This is an important aspect of encroachment
on civil rights and is a continuing preoccupation of trade unions.
- Encroachment on the commons: Much of the world has been treated as
a "commons" wherein individuals have the right to freely consume its resources
and return their wastes. As articulated by Garrett Hardin (Tragedy
of the Commons, 1968), the "logic of the commons" ultimately produces
its ruin as well as the demise of those who depend upon it for survival. For
Carmine Gorga (Toward
the Definition of Economic Rights, 1999), the theory of economic justice
has been thought to be composed of two major parts, distributive and commutative
justice - with the latter presenting rules of justice that applied to the
exchange of goods and services. The right to participate in the production
of wealth must then have seemed so natural, so innate in human beings, that
no need was felt to specify it in writing. With the progressive closure of
the commons, the full development of a monetary economy, and the propensity
to cluster immense concentrations of wealth in a few hands, the economic conditions
of the world have, indeed, changed.
- Encroachment on right of way: Access to traditional rights of way
(pathways and access to property and beaches, for example) may be gradually
reduced through a process of encroachment. Any subsequent use of such rights
of way then itself becomes a trespass, seen as an encroachment.
- Encroachment of the public: As expressed by Sam Vaknin (The
Encroachment of the Public, 2004): "In theory, private life is
insulated and shielded from social pressures, the ambit of norms and laws,
and even the strictures of public morality. Reality, though, is different.
The encroachment of the public is inexorable and, probably, irreversible.
The individual is forced to share, consent to, or merely obey a panoply of
laws, norms, and regulations not only in his or her relationships with others
- but also when solitary. Failure to comply -- and to be seen to be conforming
-- leads to dire consequences. In a morbid twist, public morality is now synonymous
with social orthodoxy, political authority, and the exercise of police powers.
The quiddity, remit, and attendant rights of the private sphere are now determined
publicly, by the state". People can stop the encroachment of government
into individual freedoms by electing representatives who pledge to uphold
constitutional limitations of government power, but the candidates who make
such a pledge are rarely elected, as opposed to those who promise to provide
even more government power and control, along with increased social programs.
Constitutions may provide for unalienable rights as primary protection of
citizens from government's stealthy and arbitrary use of power or its encroachment
into their private affairs [more].
The protection of private property against the encroachment by government
laws and regulations is a major issue -- with proponents of legislation arguing
that it is necessary to protect private property and private property rights
against encroachment by the proliferation of laws and government regulations
that stem from public concerns for protection of the environment and the needs
of an increasingly complex society. Encroachments on civil liberties may confuse
the judgment of the most active civil liberties advocates, who lump all rights
together, and as a result, oversimplify their arguments. When civil liberties
are seen as a single entity, any abridgment of any right at any time is cause
for alarm, because it is interpreted as an attack on the body of rights as
a whole -- encroachment upon one right encourages encroachment upon others.
- Institutional encroachment: National political arguments may be elaborated
so as to result in institutional encroachment. In the case of Slovakia, for
example, it has been argued that absence of effective restraints at the institutional
level results in the removal of restraints at the electoral level -- the governing
coalition has used nationally-oriented explanations to justify some of its
encroachments, to discredit criticism of those encroachments, and to convince
voters that such encroachments matter little in the face of larger threats.[more]
- Encroachment by legal entrapment: A person is "entrapped"
when induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit
a crime that they had no previous intent to commit. However, there is no entrapment
where a person is ready and willing to break the law and the government agents
merely provide what appears to be a favorable opportunity for the person to
commit the crime.
- Encroachment by bureaucracy: Encroaching bureaucracy is perceived
as a threat in many groups, and collective initiatives. Towards the end of
his life, Lenin, for example, was greatly concerned by the encroaching bureaucracy.
Managers of organizations are attentive to interpretation of some of their
initiatives (general policies, procedures, rules, etc) as encroaching bureaucracy.
The major reason for the encroachment of bureaucratic organization into the
performance of routinised tasks is its efficiency. But the issue of "red
tape" is of particular concern to business which sees itself faced with
a relentless battle against an encroaching bureaucracy -- notably instigated
by government. The encroachment of bureaucracy across modern capitalism is
thus both cause and consequence of the rationalization of law, politics and
industry, being the concrete -- the administrative manifestation of the rationalization
of action which has penetrated into all spheres of Western culture
- Encroachment by trade rules: Concern has been expressed at the inappropriate
and unacceptable encroachment by WTO trade rules in areas critical to human
or planetary welfare, such as food and water, basic social services, health
and safety, and animal protection. Such encroachment has, for example, already
resulted in campaigns on genetically modified organisms, old growth forests,
domestically prohibited goods and predatory tobacco marketing.
- Encroachment of criminal law in administrative law: In the Netherlands,
for example, there is concern that criminal law principles and standards have
encroached upon a part of administrative law (i.e. that of the punitive administrative
sanctions) through the application are the criminal law standards and principles
from international treaties which are directly applicable within the Dutch
legal order [more]
Encroachment of economic space
Encroachment of commercial space
These cases concern the use of (possibly socially irresponsible) marketing
strategies to encroach upon pre-existing patterns of production, service delivery
- Encroachment by product substitution: In this case existing products
are progressively displaced by new products. This is especially problematic
when the new products are effectively of inferior quality to older traditional
products. Products traditionally perceived as luxuries may be converted through
marketing into necessities in order to build patterns of dependency. High
tech product, notably computer software, may be designed so as to progressively
"lock in" clients so that it is more costly for them to switch to
- Brand encroachment: This is a major problem that may have severe
implications for franchisors and franchisees. It can be described as the business
that an existing store/outlet loses when a new brand comes into the group.
Brands only prosper when protected from unreasonable encroachment. Brand encroachment
may lead to another serious issue, namely damage to the franchisor-franchisee
relationship. Encroachment may occur when the franchisor opens an outlet on
the doorstep of an existing franchisee or if the franchisor acquires brands
competing directly with the current franchisees. Encroachment is one of the
most prominent management issues in franchising, as markets near saturation
and brands keep proliferating to diminish the slice each franchised system
and franchisee has of the market [more]
- Encroachment by service substitution: Here the traditional manner
of delivery of products is progressively displaced by manufacturing and delivery
systems that derive advantage from economies of scale. Smaller shop-keepers
are displaced by franchises and hypermarkets. Competition between large commercial
service enterprises may be notably focused on progressive encroachment on
the territory of competitors, such as through franchisng.
- Encroachment by addictive substances: This may be seen as a special
case of product substitution in which social use is gradually scaled up to
Encroachment of profit-making
- Encroachment of for-profit enterprises: Proliferation of for-profit
centers in Canada and the USA is perceived as encroaching on the long-term
viability of non-profit hospitals that are the backbone of the American medical
system [more | [more].
Nonprofit community colleges have constructed competitive programs to maintain
market dominance against for-profit encroachment
- Capitalist encroachment: Peasant farmers have often been among the
first to protest or rebel against to the expansion of capitalism -- to capitalist
encroachment -- and to their increased marginalization in a world of large-scale
agriculture. Such farmers have not fared as well as others in the expansion
of capitalism. In France, modern Marxist anthropology has primarily developed
as an attempt to come to terms with the economic organization of local communities,
especially in Africa, trying to identify the material aspects of production
and reproduction, and the relations of exploitation around which these revolve;
a major issue in this context has been the forms and effects of capitalist
encroachment. In the Solomon Islands, the encroaching world makes it harder
for islanders to benefit from their traditional cultural of sharing [more].
- Corporate encroachment: In the absence of a coherent alternative,
transnational corporations weave global webs of production, commerce, culture
and finance virtually unopposed -- concentrating ever more wealth in a limited
number of hands. Underpinning this effort is not the historical inevitability
of an evolving, enlightened civilization, but rather the unavoidable reality
of the overriding corporate purpose: the maximization of profits. One consequence
of this predominant trend is that our Blue Planet, home to untold cultural
and biological diversity is being held hostage to the tyranny of the bottom
line. This "corporate planet" is encroaching upon the "blue
planet", commodifying it, homogenizing it and enclosing it with its predatory
global reach. [more
Industrial encroachment is usually a feature of urban sprawl and is a consequence
of inadequate balance between economic development and preservation of natural
resources (e.g. open space, land, water). Such uncontrolled industrial development
has pushed many immigrant communities to the brink of extinction. Unused urban
spaces may lie between industrial complexes and residential neighborhoods. New
development then take place across the street from people's homes resulting
in a reduction in the quality of life for the families who live in those homes.
A particularly serious conflict arises when an industrial concern attempts to
use this land for activities that could be considered noxious (anything that
produces an abundance of pollution, noise, or unpleasant odors).
- Military encroachment on domestic law enforcement: One side-effect
of the war on terrorism has been the tendency of the military to encroach
upon domestic intelligence gathering and law enforcement -- a sensitive area
that has been off-limits to it historically. In the USA, for example, Americans
have not in the past trusted the military to do domestic police work. The
1878 Posse Comitatus Act, passed in response to abuses by federal troops in
the South after the Civil War, prohibits the use of the military "to execute
the laws" of the U.S. This has been widely interpreted as a ban on searching,
arresting or spying on U.S. civilians by federal troops. [more
- Military encroachment on civilian rule:
- Military encroachment on the environment: This refers to the urban
development of areas immediately surrounding military installations. During
its 2001 legislative session, the US Congress devoted a great deal of time
and focus to the topic of encroachment, defined in this case as the real or
perceived conflict between the military training mission and the physical
environment of habitat, species, people and communities. The problem of encroachment
arises because all need land for some form of activity, and those needs are
often at odds with one another. Encroachment can take the form of expansion
of civilian activity (residential and commercial development) into formerly
remote military training areas. Military noise, air pollution, and water pollution
threaten or annoy the public. And public activity, from traffic to electromagnetic
spectrum use to even a rise in ambient light levels at night, may interfere
with military operations. Encroachment and habitat preservation are at times
related. Where urban sprawl approaches the boundaries of military ranges,
development destroys habitat. Military facilities which previously supported
only portions of ecosystems bear increasing responsibility for protecting
the disappearing remainder. In those cases, policies that discourage encroachment
simultaneously are likely to give the military more flexibility in managing
the habitat that it owns.[more
- Military encroachment of national borders: Countries become concerned
at military action (including "exercises") close to their borders
-- and with a tendency to cross them, whether accidentally or deliberately.
Russia, for example, is concerned at the possible movement of American military
bases from Germany to Poland and Romania [more].
This applies in particular to encroachment on national airspace through unauthorized
- Military encroachment on education: The military establishment understands
the key role that schools play in the shaping of people's values and attitudes,
and they know that the deeper they penetrate into education, the greater their
influence will be on society as a whole. Their goal is not just to attract
enlistees; it is also to strengthen the position of the armed forces, in general,
by teaching military values to a larger segment of the population and affecting
people's worldview. If such encroachment on education is allowed to continue,
the result will be a more conservative political climate and, in the long
term, a breakdown in the protective barriers that prevent further military
encroachment on civilian rule.[more
Encroachment of technology
There is increasing concern to protect consumers from encroaching technology
products and services. In the case of education, for example, there is concern
that new technologies come to substitute for those contexts and methods recognized
as essential for learning to write. According to Michael Weinstein (Culture/Flesh:
Explorations of Postcivilized Modernity), people fiddling with their own
natures -- doing things like gulping tranquilizers, sleeping in hyperbaric chambers,
and flagpole sitting.-- in order to cope with encroaching technology. David
Silver (Three Approaches
Towards Encroaching Technology).
Encroachment of psycho-cultural space
These cases effectively relate to intangible products and services and may
be labelled as "cultural imperialism":
- Encroachment by mass media: Here the encroachment takes the form
of dissemination of messages, understood as market "penetration",
across cultural and other boundaries. It includes the use of periodicals,
broadcast and TV media, video, film, billboards, and the internet. The messages
communicated may directly (as advertising) or indirectly (notably as placement
advertising) sustain patterns of consumption consistent with product and service
substitution. The encroachment of media into politics is of increasing concern
in an an era of government news management. (see also Benjamin M. Compaine,
Myths of Encroaching Global Media Ownership, 2001)
- Encroachment by advertising: The significance of advertising's encroachment
is not in the power of advertisers, but in the near-complete inscription of
consumerism into the national life. In this view consumerism is so closely
linked to identity that it has resulted in a new form of social analysis that
defines classes by what products they purchase.
- Encroachment by design: This may be partly considered as a special
case of encroachment by the mass media. It involves the dissemination of fashionable
images designed to displace products (clothing, decor, architecture, etc)
of more traditional design.
- Encroachment by sound: In contrast to encroachment by visual imagery,
here the emphasis is on the creation of invasive soundscapes in public and
private spaces -- to the exclusion of other sounds and silence.
- Linguistic encroachment: Many countries endeavour to combat the linguistic
encroachment of the world's two imperialistic languages: English and French.
But the French themselves remain highly vigilant against this linguistic encroachment
and have created a language gendarme to resist the invasion of Anglicized
expressions. In some cases, the words of non-English cultures are much more
effective than the English words encouraged by globalization and displaced
by such encroachment. There is concern over the encroachment of vulgar words
into public discourse.
Encroachment of knowledge space
- Encroachment on standards of proof: Notably as a consequence of the
pressure to demonstrate progress in the "war on terrorism", and
to constrain those suspected of being associated with terrorism in some way,
the standards of proof, normally associated with the rules of evidence, are
being relaxed. For example, in the USA Section 4(c) of Bush's Military Order
authorizing military tribunals directs the Secretary of Defense to set the
standard of proof for each trial. Variable standards of proof render justice
n the case of the rules of procedure and evidence drawn up by international
judges on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, hearsay
is admissible, the identity of witnesses may be withheld from the accused,
they may be allowed to testify from a remote location, decisions are taken
by a less than unanimous vote, the standards of proof are lower than in American
courts, a form of trial in absentia may be held, and there are significant
protections for national intelligence. There is a certain inconsistency in
the fact that one needs proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict someone,
and yet one does not need proof beyond a reasonable doubt in order to use
lethal force. But the predicate necessary for incursions into liberty within
a democratic society has always been different than the somewhat thinner predicate
used to make national security decisions. One cannot ask for the same standards
of proof in foreign policy as in criminal justice; once you juridicalize foreign
policy, however, it's not surprising that people will demand consistency in
the standards of proof. This is potentially restrictive [more].
In the UK in 2004 highly controversial plans for new anti-terrorism powers
were announced to see suspects convicted on lower standards of proof than
the criminal courts and of crimes not yet even committed - such as an intent
to execute a suicide bombing [more].
- Disciplinary encroachment: With the rise of scientific authoritarianism,
traditional practices such as child-rearing have become profoundly influenced
by social science, especially psychology. This has raised the question whether
this encroachment by science into traditionally nonscientific domains justified
or whether science should respect its historical boundaries -- makling it
unclear how it should progress. Disciplinary encroachment, as presented in
an example by Christopher J. Mackie (A
Computational Model of Emergent Sociopolitical Identity, 2003): "It
is this scenario in which the possibility of disciplinary encroachment plays
out. If social complexity can find enough of a foothold in protective clusters,
then it may produce the kinds of research needed by the physical-science community
models, and forestall any systematic or widespread encroachment. On the other
hand, if they do not achieve sufficient standing and success to provide those
kinds of insights, then the same social complexity clusters, because of the
tools and values they share with complexity researchers in the physical sciences
and the relatively frequent interactions among the two groups, could provide
footholds for the early stages of those encroachments. There is no way to
predict from here which way matters would play out, or even what constitutes
'enough' progress to forestall intrusion. The rules of complex systems analysis
apply: as the day approaches, we will be able to forecast, but not necessarily
in time to do anything useful to alter the eventual outcome". In the
case of therapy for example, an emphasis on "core concepts" can
be read as a defensive attempt to preserve existing practices and positions
within psychotherapy against possible encroachment and challenge by other
constructs ("newcomer concepts", "surrounding concepts",
"infiltrating concepts") allied to more subjugated communities and
discourses. User groups and psychotherapy survivors might well suggest a different
range of core concept titles from those that tend to be used by psychotherapy
- Professional encroachment: This is closely related to disciplinary
encroachment but is particularly focused on the integrity of the profession
employing a discipline. Professionals in a particular discipline may be concerned
at the encroachment on their profession by untrained and unqualified persons.
In the case of the therapy professions, for example, people of diverse qualifications
may advertise therapy, perhaps offering only a single programme, firmly believe
they are providing services within their scope of practice. Misunderstanding
may further arise from terming their various programs "therapy", when therapy
should be understood as the application of research-based strategies, selected
by a professional who has a firm educational and developmental background
in those methodologies.
In contrast with the intangible products and services described above, the
following cases relate to concepts and insights that are much more distantly
related to tangibles and are more likely to be characterized as "spiritual
pollution" rather than as "cultural pollution":
- Encroachment by propaganda: This involves the deliberate use of communication
as a carrier for messages in support of a preferred ideology, sociopolitical
system and lifestyle. Failure to subscribe to these messages -- ideological
backsliding or "stepping over the line" -- may result in severe
sanctions. The initiatives of each side in the Cold War were perceived as
ideological encroachment by the other.
- Encroachment by religion: In a post-colonial world, religion may
be viewed in newly independent countries as an encroaching ideology or tool
of oppression. Many religions have a commitment to proselytize, namely to
spread a particular spiritual message designed to displace other understandings
framed as dangerously misguided. This encroachment may have a strong emphasis
on physical territory (as in Northern Ireland). In a missionary mode (focused
on "planting churches" in the Christian case), such religious action
may be perceived by other belief systems as encroachment. Religions themselves
may be subject to schisms and the dissemination of schismatic messages labelled
as heresies. As part of their encroachment strategy, organized religions may
endeavour to construct their places of worship within the framework of the
religious sites of the displaced belief system -- as is evident in the construction
of churches on pagan sites. As the degree of encroachment increases, any protest
may be framed as the "Voice of Satan", for example. History has
explored the phenomenon of encroachment by religion on the state and the sphere
of civil authority. The matter has been of concern in the debate on the separation
between religion and government, which involves not only the protection of
religion from state but also the state from religion -- expressed by James
Madison as the "danger of encroachment by ecclesiastical bodies" [more]
- Encroachment of hegemonic ideology: With respect to rice research
in Africa, for example, international development assistance and encroaching
hegemonic ideology have been recognized as inhibiting development possibilities
Encroachment of symbolic space
- Encroachment of imaginal space: Faced with a world of nature, which
is oblivious to personal values and desires, seemingly inhuman in shape, and
manifesting no discernible larger intelligence or morality, the imagination
is used (in the terms of Northrop Frye (The Educated Imagination, 1964)
to turn nature into a more "human world" that looks more like home. For Frye
this "human world" is notably created by producing literature, which allows
people to explore alternative models of human experience. Here, instead of
re-creating physical reality in our own image, fictional versions of reality
are invented that let people to see a vision of the world as it can be imagined
and as people might wish it to be. [more]
- Gender encroachment: Michael Bauman (Verbal
Plunder: Combating the Feminist Encroachment on the Language of Theology and
Ethics) : "Feminist word thieves have taken traditionally generic
terms of representation like he, his, and mankind and redefined them so that
they can be understood only as sexist or gender specific. In much the same
way that weasels suck the contents out of eggs, the feminists suck the content
out of words. Then they go the weasels one better. Rather than leaving the
empty shell of a word behind them, they proceed to refill that mangled word
with a definition of their own choosing. For example, according to one prominent
feminist handbook, the 'only acceptable nonsexist usage' of the word man is
in reference to an adult male. But that is a feminist weasel word, one from
which the feminists have sucked out its prior meaning and replaced it with
one of their own. According to my Webster's Dictionary, the word man is not
fundamentally a male word. In fact, the concept of maleness does not enter
until the third definition. Contrary to the self- serving assertions of the
feminist verbal revolutionaries, traditional usage is ideologically patriarchal
in neither definition or usage. My point (if it is not obvious) is this: rather
than having a command of language, the feminists want to command language."
- Psychic encroachment: This is considered, notably by exorcists,
to be a phase leading to demonic possession in which negative spirit is given
an opening to a human being, either through voluntary means, such as a satanic
ritual, or through involuntary means, such as a curse or the performance of
an unholy act. It is the stage where permission was granted either willingly
or unwillingly for the spirit or spirits to take hold. For example, the Roman
Ritual of Christian Exorcism reads: "I cast thee out, thou unclean spirit,
along with the least encroachment of the wicked enemy and every phantom and
diabolical legion. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, depart and vanish
from this creature of God...." [more
- Encroachment of violence: According to Herbert
Marcuse (1967), the encroachment of aggression on the domain of the life
instincts devalues the aesthetic dimension. The aggressive business practices
which turn ever more spaces of protective nature into a medium of commercial
fulfillment and fun thus do not merely offend beauty - they repress biological
necessities. Eros and Civilization.
- Encroachment of values: The growth of science has shaped understanding
of the world in diverse ways, notably through the encroachment of science
upon ethics. In a world made ever smaller by advances in technology, increasingly
interconnected by the spread of global capitalism, and the erosion of the
buffers of time and space between different countries and diverse cultures,
existing tensions and armed conflicts may be motivated in part by the encroachment
of values and attitudes associated with the spread of global capitalism upon
cultures and societies that hold very different values and harbour vastly
different aspirations [more].
Islamic "fundamentalism" began in the 1970s as a way to return to the roots
of the Islamic identity and safeguard it against the encroaching values of
secular and consumeristic Western culture. Traditional indigenous tribal structures
may be dangerously undermined in a society whose cohesion has been eroded
by the encroaching values of the outside world, and whose spiritual beliefs
have been clouded -- by missionaries and modern civilization, for example.
Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball (The Survival of Culture: Permanent Values
in a Virtual Age, 2003) articulate the need to struggle to uphold traditional
Western values -- those embracing individualism and capitalist democracy --
in the face of "the encroaching desert of mindless conformity and rancorous
- Encroachment of a sense of crisis: In the words of J.S. Chiappalone
(A World in Crisis,
2001): "Suddenly there are forced upon many minds, very aware ones and
less aware ones, many issues and fears which shatter the laboriously molded
paradigms of normality we hoped would see us to the end of our lives. One
of the fears encroaching on minds is the fear that whatever paradigms of normality
we had, they are now not sufficient. Suddenly the world makes less sense;
suddenly the guard rails we used to set our minds at ease in times of crises
are no longer there. Suddenly we feel vulnerable as never before. It is as
if a massive mental earthquake has shattered our inner being and we are on
shifting mental ground, trying to make sense of that which is no longer familiar."
Encroachment of intrpersonal space
Relationships between two people that involve an investment of trust by one
party in the capabilities, knowledge or expertise of the other -- to act in
the former's self-interest -- are known as fiduciary relationships. They include
relationships between teachers and students, lawyers and their clients, doctors
and patients, clergy and parishioner, therapist and client. In these cases encroachment
is experienced in terms of the dynamics of behaviour, and may be associated
with forms of ingratiation. The cases are experienced as problematic to different
degrees in different cultures, notably with respect to authority (cf Geert Hofstede):
- Child encroaching on parent (or adult): Often characterized by the
phrase "trying it on", a child may explore the boundaries of acceptable
behaviour as determined by an adult, and then seek to extend those boundaries.
As with the issue of neighbouring properties, the adult may experience a degree
of invasion of space -- especially when the adult is not the parent. Adults
may accept such encroachment with benign bemusement when it is exceptional,
but may find it unacceptable as a regular pattern.
- Pupil encroaching on a teacher: Students devote much energy to testing
the boundaries imposed by teachers. The encroachment experienced may be such
as to discourage many from joining the teaching profession or remaining in
- Employee encroachment on a superior: As with students, employees
frequently seek to extend the behavioural space accorded to them by employers.
This may take the form of familiarity, relaxation of time or work discipline,
or use of facilities normally reserved for their bosses. This is a particular
concern in the military where the relationship of subordinate to superior
may undermine discipline and the capacity to control military forces.
- Encroachment on privileged by underprivileged: This is most evident
in the relationship between poorer relatives and those of wealth. Typically
this may be described as ingratiation through which the poorer relative acquires
advantages from the richer one. Regular encounters with a beggar raise similar
- Driver behaviour in traffic: In this case encroachment is most evident
in "tail-gating" and "cutting in" (notably in Indonesia)
. In contrast to many of the other cases, the cycle of encroachment behaviour
is played out in minutes, if not seconds.
- Encroachment on privacy: The most blatant form is described as "invasion
of privacy" but the preceding phase of encroachment is better described
as degree of "intrusion" which is not significant enough to warrant
formal action or protest.
- Encroachment by stalker: This may be associated with eventual sexual
harassment, or may be focused on media or other personalities. It can be understood
as a special instance of encroachment on privacy.
- Encroachment by therapists: The abuse of patients and clients (whether
intentional or unintentional) by those professionals responsible for their
care is an issue of concern in the health and social care services. Professional
abuse in psychotherapy, encroaching on inappropriately on the client's integrity,
may constitute very different behaviours in different therapeutic contexts.
In order to be able to make use of a professional service, the patient needs
to invest a large degree of trust in the therapist. The relationship is therefore
unequal, because it involves the professional in gaining privileged access
to the personal and private life of their patient/client. In the majority
of cases it takes great courage for a client to protest against the authority
of the therapist they believed was going to help them, and to go on to confront
them via the complaints process. Misuse of the concept of the client's negative
transference is often presented as a defence against allegations of abuse.
This enables the therapist to dismiss the real experiences of the client as
destructive or distorted fantasy [more]
Encroachment of personal space
In contrast with the personal space defined by fixed boundaries (see above),
two forms of individual space are distinguished (by the communication discipline
of proxemics) and associated with distinct forms of encroachment (often labelled
in each case as "crowding"):
- Encroachment on informal space: The informal space is characterized
by the transportable personal zone or "bubble" that varies for individuals
and circumstances. This is the area that humans control and use most often
and seek to protect from encroachment and intrusion by others. Encroachment
on this space typically can impede or promote the act of communication Encroachment
tends to heighten, or escalate anxiety. Four zones of personal space have
been distinguished: the intimate distance for embracing or whispering (15-20cm),
the personal distance for conversations among good friends (45-120cm), social
distance for conversations among acquaintances (1.2-3.5m), and public distance
used for public speaking (3.5m or more). The dimensions of these zones may
vary significantly for different cultures and individuals. Encroachment may
be tolerated to a higher degree in the case of friends, depending on the degree
of friendship and the current state of the relationship. Tolerance of encroachment
may be affected by appropriate demonstration of humility and social politeness
before or after the fact. [more
- Encroachment on personal territory: This is the semi-fixed territory
established by a person, for example, in relation to furniture in an office
environment (or seating in a multi-session seminar). It becomes a person's
safety zone where he or she can rest from the rigors of defending personal
space from encroachment or invasion. Territoriality is established so rapidly
that even the second session in a series of lectures is sufficient to find
most of the audience returning to their same seats. [more]
These are effectively special instances of encroachment on personal space in
which boundaries are tested by increasingly "daring" initiatives,
usually involving some form of physical contact (touching, fondling, etc) that
are at the boundaries of unremarkable acceptability:
- Sexual encroachment involving people of authority :
- Adult encroachment on child (child abuse): The processes in this
much publicized situation call for little comment. They depend on the
manipulation of an assumed relation of confidence between child and adult.
With the opportunities of internet "chatting" and "chat
rooms", the process of an adult "grooming" a younger person
for sexual advances has become more clearly recognized. Such grooming
also occurs outside the internet environment.
- Encroachment of priest on parishioner: A priest may manipulate
the confidence of the person in his (or her) charge in order to gain sexual
advantages. The confidence may be based on the spiritual commitment of
the abused party or the authority that the priest is able to exert over
that person, irrespective of any such commitment -- as with the much publicized
cases of religious orders operating schools for boys.
- Encroachment of superior on subordinate: This more general case
is typical of sexual harassment in a work environment where raising objections
or refusing may have negative consequences. It may be understood as any
unwelcome sexual advance or conduct on the job, having the effect of making
the workplace intimidating, hostile or offensive. It may refer to: unwanted
touching of a co-worker's private parts, lewd and uncalled for comments,
talk about gender superiority, sexual jokes, etc. Although not always
meant to, certain comments may sound rude or amount to sexual harassment,
depending on context.
- Encroachment of teacher (coach) on student : This is another
common and much publicized form of encroachment given recent controversial
prominence by feminist author Naomi Wolf (The
Silent Treatment, 2004): "But sexual encroachment in an educational
context or a workplace is, most seriously, a corruption of meritocracy;
it is in this sense parallel to bribery. I was not traumatized personally,
but my educational experience was corrupted. If we rephrase sexual transgression
in school and work as a civil-rights and civil-society issue, everything
becomes less emotional, less personal. If we see this as a systemic-corruption
issue, then when people bring allegations, the focus will be on whether
the institution has been damaged in its larger mission."
- Sexual encroachment between peers:
- Encroachment through provocative display: People all play devious
games with thresholds of awareness based on deniable culpability. One
game for women, in some cultures, is clearly to make themselves as "attractive"
as possible, by exposing the optimum number of biological triggers to
members of the opposite sex, under conditions where any overt response
is considered inappropriate. To what extent is "sexual harassment of women"
in the West defined by the game in which men break the rules when they
respond with touch or voice to purportedly neutral messages conveyed through
sight and smell? The corresponding game of "sexual harassment of men"
might then be defined as that in which women break the rules when they
respond with visible or olfactory attractors to purportedly neutral messages
conveyed by men through voice or touch. Presumably other variants are
played out in other cultures.
- Encroachment through flirting: According to the SIRC
Guide to Flirting, flirting is a universal and essential aspect
of human interaction. Anthropological research shows that flirting is
to be found, in some form, in all cultures and societies around the world.
It is a basic instinct, part of human nature. According to some evolutionary
psychologists, flirting may even be the foundation of civilization as
we know it. Our achievements in everything from art to rocket science
may be merely a side-effect of the essential ability to charm. Flirting
is governed by a complex set of unwritten laws of etiquette. These rules
dictate where, when, with whom and in what manner people may flirt. We
generally obey these unofficial laws instinctively, without being conscious
of doing so. We only become aware of the rules when someone commits a
breach of this etiquette -- by flirting with the wrong person, perhaps,
or at an inappropriate time or place. Flirting may be viewed as a unilateral
exercise in encroachment. It may however be an exercise in a form of mutual
encroachment as each seeks to increase the degree of rapprochement.
In this case the encroachment by some is focused on the temporal "space"
to which others attach value:
- Encroachment in respecting scheduled engagements: This is the well-known
phenomenon whereby one party effectively habituates the other to waiting beyond
the scheduled time of the appointment. It may be used to confirm status differences,
the length of the wait being a measure of the degree of encroachment to which
the other party has been conditioned and is therefore a measure of status.
Examples include the delays in starting meetings (the academic "quarter
of an hour"). Perception of these delays as encroachment may vary significantly
between cultures (typically in contrasting the Teutonic and Latin cultures).
- Encroachment on the future: Actions in the present are recognized
as constraining the options available to future generations. Use of nuclear
energy, with the need to dispose of radioactive waste, is an example. Destruction
of rain-forests and and other ecosystems is another. As with encroachment
in general, seemingly minor actions today may combine to create situations
tomorrow which are necessarily violent and disproportionate. The institutionalization
of inequality, impoverishment and excessive privilege have typically engendered
revolution at the expense of past generations and their achievements.
- Encroachment on the past: This is the process whereby the interpretation
of history is modified to accommodate, and even legitimate, present-day values
and priorities. Historical revisionism has been publicized in relation to
interpretations of evidence for the Nazi Holocaust. More generally historical
"facts" are variously interpreted, whether by acknowledging, ignoring,
or giving varying weights in order to evidence. In contrast with the other
forms of encroachment it may appear that the past is unable to respond to
such encroachment on the reality of past memories. As indicated by the classic
quote addressed to those ignore history however, the past can forcefully re-emerge
with powerful lessons.
- Encroachment by modernity: This is the process whereby individuals
experience become sensitive to the increasing pace of life and innovation,
resulting from human activity, which they come to find overwhelming.
- Engendering encroachment: The following cases may be considered as
a form of temporal encroachment. Here however action in the present engenders
encroachment as a lesson "from" the future (or for it):
- Encroachment from flooding: Construction of settlements in flood
plains, ignoring the tendency of rivers to flood occasionally, results
in situations in which river water encroaches on properties in ways that
can prove extremely costly. Here encroachment on flood plains by buildings
engenders encroachment by flooding.
- Encroachment from rising sea levels: This is a more dramatic
and permanent example of encroachment from flooding whose major effects
are predicted to become evident over the coming decades. It is caused
by failure to respond effectively to the challenge of global warming and
rising carbon emissions. Here encroachment on air quality engenders encroachment
by rising sea levels.
- Encroachment by disease resistant bacteria: The widespread development
and use of pharmaceutical drugs to control disease has created a situation
in which bacteria are mutating and disease resistant bacteria are becoming
a major challenge to hospitals. Here encroachment by progressive allopathic
response to disease engenders encroachment by resistance to those treatments.
- Encroachment from population pressure: This widely documented
phenomenon is associated with the ever-increasing use of non-renewable
resources. Here encroachment by increasing population (and reproductive
rights) engenders encroachment by the demands on resources which there
is a reasonable probability cannot be fulfilled and will therefore engender
a violent and unreasonable response..
- Encroachment of old age: The process of ageing, and terminal
illness, may be experienced as encroaching shadows on human dignity.
Equally, while near the peak of their careers, people may note the encroachment
of youth and change.
This can be seen as a more contextual process that is more difficult to characterize
by reference to detail, but is evident primarily in its consequences. Typically
it is associated with the maintenance, development and institutionalization
of systems of privilege and the marginalization and further impoverishment of
the underprivileged. Johan Galtung (of TRANSCEND)
argues that only amateurs engage in physical violence, whereas professionals
engage in "structural violence" through manipulating social conditions to their
Following this line of argument, perhaps the most skilled even engage in "conceptual
violence" (typically associated with stereotyping) -- or even "spiritual violence".
Conceptual violence: Gandhi went so far as to suggest
that physical violence represents merely a reflection of a deeper layer of conceptual
violence: "Our violence in word and deed is but a feeble echo of the surging
violence of thought in us." The implications of conceptual violence for practice
have been explored in the light of Michel Foucault's "joined up thinking"
Such understandings of the powerful subtlety of conceptual violence are acknowledged
and supported by modern techniques of interrogation -- namely that it is not
physical violence that is most effective, but rather creating the the fearful
anticipation of that violence. In a perverse parallel to the "grooming"
practiced by paedophiles, interrogators deliberately create a context for their
final acts through isolation, disorientation and environments of menace. As
indicated by Vikram Dodd (Torture
by the Book, 2004) with regard to the methods of interrogation used
by the coalition forces in Iraq and elsewhere, this is euphemistically described
in interrogation manuals as "setting the conditions" -- officially
denied by the US government as constituting torture.
Dodd notes that one CIA interrogation manual (Human Resource Exploitation
Training Manual, 1983), that seemingly guide practices in Iraq, indicates:
The purpose of all coercive techniques is to induce psychological regression
in the subject by bringing a superior outside froce to bear on his will to
resist. Regression is basically a loss of autonomy.
Detention should be planned to enhance... feelings of being cut off from
anything known and reassuring.
The threat of coercion usually weakens or destroys resistance more effectively
than coercion itself
Pain that he feels he is inflicting on himself is more likely to sap resistance...
After a while the subject is likely to exhaust his internal motivational strength.
These techniques, according to Dodd, build in part on an earlier CIA manual
entitled KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation (1963) [more
| more] which notably
highlights the value of non-coercion:
The effectiveness of most of the non-coercive techniques depends upon their
unsettling effect. The interrogation situation is in itself disturbing to
most people encountering it for the first time. The aim is to enhance this
effect, to disrupt radically familiar emotional and psychological associations
... When this aim is achieved, resistance is seriously impaired. There is
an interval ... of suspended animation, a kind of psychological shock or paralysis.
It is caused by a traumatic or sub-traumatic experience which explodes, as
it were, the world that is familiar to the subject as well as his image of
himself within that world. At this moment the source is far likelier to comply.
Spiritual violence: This is not a new phenomenon.
It has taken an endless variety of forms and expressions throughout human history.
From the condemnation and casting out of people who don't believe the prevailing
religion to hanging witches and burning heretics, spiritual violence has been
one of the most persistent and creative human activities ever manifested in
social behavior [more
Its restriction to particular issues, of concern to particular religions or
groups, is itself a form of spiritual violence characteristic of structural
Again this form of violence may be seen as epitomized in particular "non-violent"
approaches to interrogation. In the case of Muslims in Iraq (or Guantanamo Bay),
for example, this involves a creative range of techniques designed specifically
to humiliate and degrade men holding Islamic beliefs (nakedness, sexual acts,
obligation to don women's underwear, exposure to sodomy, use of dogs, etc) and
notably supervised by women. Not only may these practices be deemed sacrilegious,
their polluting effects may also be believed to endanger the person's salvation
(especially if, as is typical of fundamentalists, women are conceived as sinister
and satanic, the embodiment of sin and seduction). The spiritual impact of this
"non-violence" derives in part from its being undertaken under the
leadership (and with the knowledge) of Judeo-Christians deeply committed to
their own faiths and promoting values they label as "freedom" and
"Spiritual violence is most dangerous when it is
most spiritual -- that is least emotional. Violence which acts in the
depths of the will without any surface upheaval carries our whole being
into captivity with no apparent struggle. Such is the violence of deliberate
and unresisted sin which seems to be not violence but peace".