The first thing we are going to do is know the etymological origin of the term coercion that we are now dealing with. In this case, we can state that it is a word that derives from Latin, specifically from “coactio”, which can be translated as “force that is carried out to force someone to do something”. It is a word made up of the following clearly differentiated parts:
-The prefix “with”, which is equivalent to “together”.
-The verb “agere”, which is synonymous with “act” or “carry forward”.
-The suffix “-cion”, which is used to indicate “action and effect”.
The concept refers to violence, intimidation or pressure that is exerted on a person with the intention of forcing him to do or say something.
For example: “The coercion worked: the man finally refused to testify against the police accused of corruption”, “I will not accept any kind of coercion”, “Despite attempts at coercion, the fishing industry workers took carry out their protest in front of the doors of the Government House ”.
Coercion develops so that an individual performs – or fails to perform – an action against their will. It is important to bear in mind that coercion can be legitimate (if imposed by the State in certain contexts) or illegitimate (when it is exercised by a private subject).
A democratic government has various tools for the exercise of coercion by legal means. Suppose that a group of people advance down the street throwing stones at motorists, hitting passersby and destroying shops and homes. The State, through the security forces (such as the police), can resort to coercion to make these people cease their actions. In this framework, police officers can throw tear gas to disperse the mobilization and forcibly detain individuals who are committing crimes.
Take the case, instead, of a woman who goes to a police station to report her boss for sexual harassment. On the way, she is intercepted by three men who push her, insult her and tell her that if she denounces the man in question, she will appear dead in a ditch. This coercion, which seeks to prevent women from speaking out of fear, is illegitimate and illegal.
Within the cultural sphere, we find different works that use the term that we are dealing with in their titles. A good example of this is the film “Coercion of a jury”, released in 1996. Brian Gibson is the director of this feature film, framed within the thriller genre, which stars actors such as Demi Moore, Anne Heche, Alec Baldwin and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
It comes to tell the story of a single mother, Annie, who is chosen to be part of a jury that must be in charge of a trial against a dangerous murderer. Your life will get complicated because that choice will lead you to become a victim of coercion. And it is that a criminal hired by the mafia will expose him that either he declares the accused innocent, receiving a large sum of money as consideration, or his life and that of his son will be in serious danger.