Between Agency and Symbolic Violence

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The Role of Symbolic Violence in Research and Policy:
In Denmark it is a common assumption that gender equality, especially concerning sexual practices and other personal relations, has been fully accomplished. Consequently, public as well as professional discourses and practices concerning rape, but also prostitution and other forms of sexualised practices, are influenced by such assumptions as well as connected ones. Thus, young women exposed to diverse forms of sexualised coercion are often especially chocked by the events they have experienced, not having believed that they - as equals to men - could be exposed to sexualised violence.
Another example is that therapy and other forms of help do not draw on critical perspectives on gender conditions. Rather, frequently and in essencialising approaches to concepts of femininity and masculinity, they individualise or over-generalise the difficulties of exposed persons.
Correspondingly, currently raging media and political debates in DK at times argue against regulation of prostitution by law using the argument, that the right to be a ‘sex worker’ is a human right to dispose over ones body as one wishes, and that a valuable consequence of women’s sexual liberation is that women are also beginning to enjoy so-called sexual services. In connection hereto the so-called ‘pro sex’ movement designate critical voices as puritanical and against sexual freedom.
I will propose, that in order to counter individualising neoliberal trends of this kind in public policies concerning gendered and gendering violence, it is necessary to develop critiques of aspects of symbolic violence (Beate Krais 1993), that have been conceptualised as ‘genderless gender’ by Suvi Ronkainen (2001). Thus statistic and other forms of research approaches wishing to influence policies on gendered violence must be concerned with, and develop research questions, methods and analytical strategies of connections between aspects of society/politics and gendered violence.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date17 Apr 2013
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2013
Event2013 Conference of the European Network on Gender and Violence - Universität Wien, Wien, Austria
Duration: 17 Apr 201319 Apr 2013


Conference2013 Conference of the European Network on Gender and Violence
LocationUniversität Wien

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