In an Abusive State: How Neoliberalism Appropriated the Feminist Movement against Sexual Violence

In an Abusive State: How Neoliberalism Appropriated the Feminist Movement against Sexual Violence

by Kristin Bumiller
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822342391

ISBN-13: 9780822342397

Pub. Date: 04/25/2008

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

In an Abusive State puts forth a powerful argument: that the feminist campaign to stop sexual violence has entered into a problematic alliance with the neoliberal state. Kristin Bumiller chronicles the evolution of this alliance by examining the history of the anti-violence campaign, the production of cultural images about sexual violence,

Overview

In an Abusive State puts forth a powerful argument: that the feminist campaign to stop sexual violence has entered into a problematic alliance with the neoliberal state. Kristin Bumiller chronicles the evolution of this alliance by examining the history of the anti-violence campaign, the production of cultural images about sexual violence, professional discourses on intimate violence, and the everyday lives of battered women. She also scrutinizes the rhetoric of high-profile rape trials and the expansion of feminist concerns about sexual violence into the international human-rights arena. In the process, Bumiller reveals how the feminist fight against sexual violence has been shaped over recent decades by dramatic shifts in welfare policies, incarceration rates, and the surveillance role of social-service bureaucracies.

Drawing on archival research, individual case studies, testimonies of rape victims, and interviews with battered women, Bumiller raises fundamental concerns about the construction of sexual violence as a social problem. She describes how placing the issue of sexual violence on the public agenda has polarized gender- and race-based interests. She contends that as the social welfare state has intensified regulation and control, the availability of services for battered women and rape victims has become increasingly linked to their status as victims and their ability to recognize their problems in medical and psychological terms. Bumiller suggests that to counteract these tendencies, sexual violence should primarily be addressed in the context of communities and in terms of its links to social disadvantage. In an Abusive State is an impassioned call for feminists to reflect on how the co-optation of their movement by the neoliberal state creates the potential to inadvertently harm impoverished women and support punitive and racially based crime control efforts.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822342397
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
04/25/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
232
Sales rank:
872,483
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface xi

1. The Sexual Violence Agenda: Feminists and the State 1

2. Gender War: The Cultural Representation of Sexual Violence 16

3. Expressive Justice: The Symbolic Function of the Gang Rape Trial 36

4. Administrative Injustice: The Growth of the Therapeutic State 63

5. Victim Insurgency: The State as a Dangerous Stranger 96

6. Universalizing Gender Justice: At Home and Abroad 132

Conclusion 155

Notes 167

Bibliography 189

Index 209

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