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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, I discuss the ways in which violence as a concept has been studied over time. In contrast to legitimizing constructions of the state as representing the “monopoly of violence” linked to maintaining order, feminist scholars have pointed to the sexual and racial violence that ground the state and imperial orders. From theoretical discussions of the “sexual contract” that precedes and informs the “social contract” (Pateman 1988) to historical studies of slavery, colonial violence, ethnic conflicts, and genocide, feminist analyses have shattered states’ claims concerning their “rational, controlled, and purposive” deployment of violence for the public good. Instead, they have drawn attention to group-based patterns of violence enacted by some to the detriment of others within and beyond national communities whether in the context of genocide, war, civil conflict, and state sponsored terror or in everyday lives. Feminist theorists have also examined the complex roles of states, non state actors from dominant classes and communities and individual perpetrators in the enactment of violence with impunity and they have traced intricate modes of resistance in response to violence.

Keywords: humane/inhumane, state, colonialism, bodies, subjectivity, rape, sexual violence, militarism, resistance

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