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Structural Violence

Hidden Brutality in the Lives of Women

Joshua M. Price

Publication Year: 2012

Challenges the notions that “violence against women” is synonymous with “domestic violence” and that violence affects all women equally. Structural Violence seeks to redraw the conventional map of violence against women. In order to understand violence as a fundamentally heterogeneous phenomenon, it is essential to go beyond interpersonal partner violence and analyze the workings of institutional and structural violence. Self-help books, some shelters, the courts, federal and state legislation, empirical studies, therapeutic models, and even some mainstream feminist polemics presume that all women face the same kind of violence. This assumption masks violence that does not conform to the imagined norm, such as violence against women who are sex workers, lesbians, homeless, and/or undocumented. Joshua M. Price’s exploration of these issues is based on several years of research involving participant-observation in domestic violence courts and extensive interviews with activists, advocates, incarcerated women, and women who have faced various forms of violence. Both conceptually and methodologically, the book challenges narrow notions of violence against women and demonstrates implications for judicial intervention and other forms of public involvement.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright, Quotes

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xiii

In the course of research, I have been inspired over and over again by the courage, intelligence, and fortitude of many women, especially survivors of violence. I have learned enormously from their thinking and analyses. This book is built on the insights and experiences of activists and advocates in the struggle to stop violence...

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pp. 1-20

Let’s start with a room. It is small and closed—the size of a broom closet. In front of me is a thick plate of glass. The walls are white cinder block. The carpet is worn. I wait in a cheap plastic chair. I am in the visiting room at a county jail in upstate New York. In collaboration with the NAACP, I am interviewing...

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Chapter One: The Power and Control Wheel: From Critical Pedagogy to Homogenizing Model

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pp. 21-44

In this chapter, I examine the social history of one of the most important tools used by the movement to stop violence against women. The tool, or model, is called the “Power and Control Wheel.” Activists and advocates at the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (hereafter the Duluth Project) devised the...

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Chapter Two: Difficult Maneuvers: Stopping Violence against Latina Immigrants in the United States

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pp. 45-64

I am interviewing a well-known local Latina advocate in a spacious, modestly furnished office in a community center on the South Side of Chicago. I met Juana Liliana1 as I was doing popular education in Chicago with other members of the Escuela Popular Norteña, a center for popular education, and collaborating with...

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Chapter Three: Speech at the Margins: Women in Prostitution and the Counterpublic Sphere

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pp. 65-88

Depending on how they are socially positioned, different women face distinct forms of manipulation and coercion. In the epigraph for this chapter, the narrator, the wife, and the actors in the pornographic film encounter varying shades, forms, and tonalities of power and violence against them. Among other things, they...

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Chapter Four: Homophobia, Structural Violence, and Coalition Building

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pp. 89-100

In this chapter, I argue that one of the problems with seeing violence against women as “domestic violence” is its implicitly heterosexual frame of reference. Such a frame obscures institutionalized homophobia. I focus on how to view violence against women while calling that domestic heteronormative frame...

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Chapter Five: Spaces of Judgment and Judgments of Space: Competing Logics of Violence in Court

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pp. 101-120

In the previous three chapters, I examined the experiences of women who face violence but are marginalized by mainstream discourse and institutions that respond to violence. In this chapter, I will examine how state power is directly implicated in hiding, flattening, and homogenizing difference in experiences of...

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Chapter Six: “Why Doesn’t She Just Leave?”

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pp. 121-138

In the previous chapters, drawing on interviews with activists, the insights of women of color and women involved the criminal justice system, I argued that violence against women is not and should not be treated as a monolithic phenomenon: different women face different forms of violence. The violence...

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Chapter Seven: Tentative Conclusions and Small-Scale Solutions

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pp. 139-149

An immigrant to the United States told me she awoke one night to the sounds of someone trying to gain entry to her apartment through the back door. She was scared and alone, so she called several friends. “The next day,” she remarked to me a bit sardonically, “I learned I was supposed to call 911.” Part of becoming...


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pp. 151-159


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pp. 161-173


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pp. 175-179

E-ISBN-13: 9781438443454
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438443430

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2012