Violence Against Women: Philosophical Perspectives / Edition 1

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Overview

This is the first anthology to take a theoretical look at violence against women. Each essay shows how philosophy provides a powerful tool for examining a difficult and deep-rooted social problem. Stanley G. French, Wanda Teays, and Laura M. Purdy, all philosophers, present a familiar phenomenon in a new and striking fashion.The editors employ a two-tiered approach to this vital issue. Contributors consider both interpersonal violence, such as rape and battering; and also systemic violence, such as sexual harassment, pornography, prostitution, and violence in a medical context. The editors have further broadened the discussion to include such cross-cultural issues as rape in war, dowry deaths, female genital mutilation, and international policies on violence against women. Against this wide range of topics, which integrate personal perspectives with the philosophical, the contributors offer powerful analyses of the causes and effects of violence against women, as well as potential policies for effecting change.

Each essay shows how philosophy provides a powerful tool for examining a difficult and deep-rooted social problem. Stanley G. French, Wanda Teays, and Laura M. Purdy, all philosophers, present a familiar phenomenon in a new and striking fashion.

The editors employ a two-tiered approach to this vital issue. Contributors consider both interpersonal violence, such as rape and battering; and also systemic violence, such as sexual harassment, pornography, prostitution, and violence in a medical context. The editors have further broadened the discussion to include such cross-cultural issues as rape in war, dowry deaths, female genital mutilation, and international policies on violence against women. Against this wide range of topics, which integrate personal perspectives with the philosophical, the contributors offer powerful analyses of the causes and effects of violence against women, as well as potential policies for effecting change.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This anthology has many virtues. It offers a cross-cultural view of violence against women in many of its familiar forms. Although clearly within the discipline of philosophy, the articles are written in a clear manner that is accessible to a diverse audience, including those working in grassroots movements and in activist communities who otherwise may look skeptically upon academic writing on violence against women. The authors provide lucid and concise explanations of theoretical underpinnings, and most articles include case studies which are illuminating and grounding while avoiding the sensationalism that examples of violence against women can sometimes evoke."—Nancy Nyquist Potter, Letters in Canada, 1998

"This collection of thirteen essays shows why and how violence against women should be examined philosophically . . . .I found every one of these essays enlightening, and plan to use the book in my 'Feminism and Philosophy' course because I believe it will, as effectively as any book I know, counter two common beliefs: that there is no need for feminism because women have already achieved equality; and that insofar as feminism is important, philosophy is unimportant. "— Ethics. October 1999.

"Violence Against Women is a much-needed addition to feminist and philosophical discussions of the myriad forms of violence that women experience around the world. . . . The thirteen essays offer new and culturally diverse perspectives. . . . a useful addition to readings in more advanced courses in feminist theory, ethics, and political philosophy."—Kim Hall, Ass't. Professor of Philosophy at Appalachian State University. NWSA Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring).

"This diverse and wide-ranging collection of essays begins with a discussion of the complexity of surviving rape and ends with a discussion of the complexities of preventing and resisting rape. . . The strength of this collection of essays lies in the clarity of argument and explanation. There is a clear and uncompromising commitment to making theory 'work' for women in the complex and diverse worlds in which they live."—Renee Heberle, Hypatia, June 2001

"Unique and timely. Offering a nice blend of more familiar and less familiar topics, this volume will be interesting to readers with specific interests as well as to readers looking for something new."—Uma Narayan, Vassar College

"The topic of violence against women needs the kind of serious philosophical scrutiny the editors provide in this volume. Not only philosophers, but legal theorists, criminologists, women's studies specialists, political scientists and sociologists will find this book useful."—Rosemarie Tong, Davidson College

"In their introduction to Violence against Women, the editors claim that it 'was conceived in the spirit of social transformation'; the constituent chapters of the book more than fulfill this formative conception. The daring and innovative papers focusing on rape, genital mutilation, pornography, domestic violence, and social policy promise to jolt any readers still mired in dogmatic slumbers into transformed, and perhaps uneasy, wakefulness. The strength of argument applied by the authors to extensive empirical and personal experience should abolish forever the possibility of taking seriously many former 'axioms' regarding such concepts as rights, freedom, and humanity. Most important, this volume transforms what it means to do philosophy, exploding old Cartesian boundaries of the purely rational, opening up for philosophical analysis the lives of women as they have actually been lived."—Maryann Ayim, author of The Moral Parameters of Good Talk

"This is a fine collection that makes clear why violence against women—from rape and battery to female genital cutting and much else—should receive serious philosophical attention. The essays here clarify the issues and offer recommendations, as should philosophy at its best."—Virginia Held, Distinguished Professor, City University of New York

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801484520
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,026,372
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Editors' Introduction 1
I Sexual Assault
1 Surviving Sexual Violence: A Philosophical Perspective 11
2 Sexual Assault and the Problem of Consent 27
3 Rape, Genocide, and Women's Human Rights 43
II Domestic Violence
4 Standards of Perfection and Battered Women's Self-defense 57
5 Violence in Bangladesh 77
6 Female Genital Mutilation: Violence in the Name of Tradition, Religion, and Social Imperative 92
III Sexual Harassment in Legal and Medical Contexts
7 Identifying Sexual Harassment: The Reasonable Woman Standard 107
8 "Her Body Her Own Worst Enemy": The Medicalization of Violence against Women 123
IV Pornography and Prostitution
9 Media Liability for Personal Injury Caused by Pornography 139
10 The Myth of the Happy Hooker: Kantian Moral Reflections on a Phenomenology of Prostitution 152
V Policies and Perspectives on Violence
11 Violence and Transcultural Values 161
12 International Development Paradigms and Violence against Women 168
13 Resistance to Prevention: Reconsidering Feminist Antiviolence Rhetoric 182
Notes on Contributors 201
Notes 205
Bibliography 235
Index 259
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