Violence and Gender : Interdisciplinary Reader / Edition 1

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Overview

Using different disciplinary approaches, this collection of thoughtful and timely selections focuses on integrating issues related to violence and gender. Violence and Gender enables readers to learn about these complex issues so they can work to lessen the occurrence of violence in their personal and professional lives. The introductory section presents a number of theories of violence that ground readers in different theories and reasons for violent behavior. The subsequent sections deal with the topics of gender, youth violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, violence and sports, and media representation of violence. Because of its comprehensive coverage of many issues, this book can serve as an excellent resource for sociologists, criminologists, justice administrators, psychologists, therapists, and those involved in social work.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131116313
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 4/14/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Read an Excerpt

When we first conceptualized this book in 1996 we wanted to create a text that would speak to the many forms of violence occurring both domestically and globally. Moreover, we believed, and continue to believe, that much public and academic discourse still largely ignores the interrelationships between the different manifestations of violence and the construct of gender. Since the social construction of our gender greatly informs how we act, how we react, and how we function in our world, it seems crucial that we begin an inquiry into how our notions of gender influence the perpetration and experience of violence.

It quickly became apparent that we had to limit our focus to the United States for two reasons: addressing issues of worldwide violence and gender demands in-depth analysis that is beyond the scope of a single volume; equally importantly—and unfortunately—given the amount of violence in the United States, we certainly have more than enough material for investigation with this defined focus. Ironically enough, since September 11, 2001, Americans have become increasingly aware of and concerned about worldwide violence in forms such as terrorism, suicide bombers, the treatment of women in Afghanistan, and biological and chemical warfare. Despite this important change in the knowledge level and subsequent outlook of many Americans, we continue to believe that the violence many Americans experience "at home"—in our homes and schools, at our work, and on our streets—especially as it relates to the construction of gender, needs to be at the forefront of our national dialogues and debated in our classrooms.

Like many others, our interest in issues of violence and gender grows out of personal concerns. Children, who are often the victims and perpetrators of violence, are being born and raised in a society that abhors and yet remains fascinated with violence. A minority of men, who demonstrate their manhood in hostile ways, create a general fear of men in our culture. As a result, women often need to be afraid of the men whom they meet and with whom they develop intimate relationships. Children and adults of "other" religions, ethnicities, races, sexual preferences, and cultures are being subjected to the intolerance of the dominant culture. In addition, our national conversations about violence are often driven by individual incidents that are highly publicized in the media. Once these examples fade from the media and our attention, however, it is all too easy to move on with our lives and leave these issues behind. Clearly, we need thoughtful, sustained dialogues about the causes of violence, in conjunction with examinations of their relationships to gender.

As educators, we believe that the most effective way to promote this dialogue is to facilitate life-long learning for people of all ages. All of us need to develop informed opinions in order to understand the range of reasons why violence occurs, analyze the possible causes and effects of violence on others, form our own opinions about how to prevent such violent incidents, respect the opinions of others, and work toward solutions that better our lives. We believe that intolerance of the "Other" is usually caused by a lack of knowledge and understanding, by an unawareness of a different point of view. Education remains a critically important and effective way to minimize that ignorance and to begin the journey toward mutual tolerance.

The book that we have compiled is the outgrowth of an eight-credit interdisciplinary course on violence and gender that has been taught several times. The selected readings here present a number of perspectives on issues of violence and gender: from psychology; criminology; journalism; biology; sociology; history; law; cultural studies. This collection includes selections that utilize different disciplinary methods, including scholarly analyses, case studies, and research reports. Taken together, the texts can help us understand the phenomenon of violence and its links to gender.

The selections included in the book can also be used in conjunction with primary texts that focus more on the representation of violence and gender as seen through the multiple lenses of artists: novels, poems, feature films, and documentaries. We have found that it is often the case that people can better discuss and relate to controversial and sensitive issues through an interpretation of a film, an analysis of a novelistic character, or the powerful visual images in a poem. Throughout this book, therefore, we have inserted a number of poems as examples of yet another way to approach and to understand issues of violence and gender. As for other artistic representations, we have included after our Preface a list of the documentaries, feature films, and novels we have used for each section. These are only suggestions, of course, since there are so many possibilities that relate to the issues under consideration.

Violence and Gender: An Interdisciplinary Reader is divided into seven broad sections. In order to clarify the intellectual framework of this book, we have provided section introductions that elucidate how readings within each section link to each other, how various theories of violence and gender can be applied across the issues presented, and how one topic moves into another. These introductions also serve as a point of departure for thinking about both individual readings and broader issues, as they ask questions and raise points for discussion and reflection.

The first two sections of the book set up the important groundwork for better understanding and contextualizing the remainder of the material. Section I, "Conceptualizing Violence," introduces an array of disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship, ranging from history to biology, policy studies, public health, medicine, and psychology. Since each of these fields has contributed to and continues to contribute to our evolving understanding of the causes of violence and violent behavior, we have included a representative sampling of some of the most prominent ideas. While not exhaustive, we expect that you will come away with a significantly greater awareness of and appreciation for the complexity of understanding violence.

After examining different theoretical perspectives, we ask you to consider the "Social Construction of Masculinities, Femininities, and the 'Other,'" the topic of the second section of the book. This section presents ideas about how we form and are formed by society: how gender itself is defined; how male and female narratives differ; how we have created cultural stereotypes and myths of manhood; how women continue—or more recently refuse to continue—to be shaped by traditional visions of femininity; how males and females respond differently to anger and aggression; and how fear and misunderstanding of "Others" can lead to hatred and violence. Raising awareness of both cultural gender stereotypes and prejudices against other people is a central goal of this section.

After these two fundamental sections, we move on to "Youth Violence" where we address the phenomenon of gangs—male and female—and incidents of school violence, both related to problems such as school safety, crime, and guns. Several of the readings also call attention to the tendency toward prejudice and stereotyping of certain groups of youth. Given the increased national focus on youth violence, we are hopeful that these selections will begin to help you understand and talk about these issues, hopefully leading to a safer environment for our youth today.

Section IV is devoted to the "Violation of Body Space." The readings deal with the physical and mental health effects of battering and sexual assault on women; acquaintance rape; the psychological impact of sexual assault and rape on boys and men, particularly around sexual identity issues; and childhood sexual abuse. Domestic violence, rape, and child sexual abuse are unfortunately not limited to any one class, sex, ethnicity, race, or age. Recognizing what constitutes the violation of one's body space and developing empathy for survivors are some of our goals for this section.

A section on "Violence and Sports," the fifth section of this book, may come as a surprise to some, as many of us tend to think of sports as mere play. However, after reading about the relationships among sports, the male body image, and the construction of "sporting masculinities" and their potential influence on attitudes toward gender, you should see the relevance of this inquiry. This section also illuminates issues of athletic privilege and entitlement and focuses on one particular case study involving gang rape.

Current discussions that attempt to predict why some people—men, women, and children—become violent, often point to the dangers of our media. Accordingly, Section VI examines "Media Representation of Violence." After opening with a text that proposes an interesting link between violent sports and the media, we then tackle the question of why many people are attracted to violent entertainment. A major focus of national debates and research studies has been the potentially deleterious effects on children of watching violence. Given this, we ask readers to consider whether or not we have become desensitized to violence in entertainment because it is not "real." We close this section with a study of some of the popular stereotypes of tough and violent women in the mass media and how they form and inform our views of "appropriate" gender roles for women.

Finally in Section VII, "Preventing Violence and Revisioning the Future," we tackle issues surrounding the development of needed prevention and intervention programs, the debates on gun control and censorship, a redefinition of masculinity and of the balance of power between women and men, and ideas for reducing violence and violent behavior. Incidents of personal and public violence have been and continue to be so prevalent in the United States that some people have come to accept them as inevitable, especially as part of our increasingly diverse society. In fact, this belief in the innate evil nature of humans leads some to believe that little can be done to eradicate or even reduce acts of violence. We, however, believe in the possibility of a less violent society but maintain that the construction of gender needs to be reexamined in order to attain such a goal. It is our hope that the selections in this concluding section of the book will stimulate you to consider a range of possible solutions.

The complex issues surrounding violence and gender in the United States cannot be covered in one book. We leave it to individuals to delve further into research on the topics here, as well as on additional topics including: violence against self; institutional violence; extremist and supremacist groups; politics, war, and nationalism; terrorism; cultural, ethnic, religious, and racial violence; female genital mutilation; pornography; and international sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the list is long, and the need to understand these issues grows more and more urgent each day.

In deciding what readings to include and how to structure material for beginning an inquiry into issues of violence and gender, we have provided as broad an overview as possible. In choosing a particular aspect of violence and gender to study and in selecting particular texts, we have sought materials that offer a solid presentation and evoke dynamic responses. The best readings, in our view, are those that will provoke you into forming, analyzing, and questioning your own opinions and then encourage you to listen to the viewpoints—both convergent and divergent—of others. We trust that the topics that we have chosen and the texts that we have selected will stimulate you to think deeply about these important issues.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

(NOTE: Each chapter includes an Introduction.)

1. Conceptualizing Violence.

How to Think About Violence, James Gilligan. Boys Will Be Boys, Myriam Medzian. Biology, Development, and Dangerousness, Elizabeth J. Susman and Jordan W. Finkelstein. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell. Shame: The Emotions and Morality of Violence, James Gilligan. The White City and the Wild West: Buffalo Bill and the Mythic Space of American History, Richard Slotkin.

2. Social Construction of Masculinities, Femininities, and “The Other.”

'Night to His Day': The Social Construction of Gender, Judith Lorber. Speaking of Gender: The Darkened Eye Restored, Carol Tavris. Introduction: Post-Vietnam Blues; Old Warriors, New Warriors, James William Gibson. Song of Napalm, Bruce Weigl. Guerrilla War, W.D. Ehrhart. Masculinity, Power, and Identity, Nigel Edley and Margaret Wetherell. No Man Is an Island: Men in Relationships with Others, Christopher Kilmartin. Black-Widow Women, James William Gibson. Dressing the Dolls: The Fashion Backlash, Susan Faludi. Feminist Fatale: BUST-ing the Beauty Myth, Debbie Stoller. Recipe, Janice Mirikitani. Who Is the Enemy and What Does He Want?, James William Gibson. The Fight Against Hate: Why We Can't-and Shouldn't-Win It, Andrew Sullivan. The Outsiders, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc.

3. Youth Violence.

Youth Gangs: A Developmental Perspective, Daniel J. Flannery, C. Ronald Huff, and Michael Manos. Gang Member Demographics and Gang Subcultures, Irving A. Spergel. Kids, Guns, and Violence: Conclusions and Implications, Joseph P. Sheley and James D. Wright. 'Race' Politics, Luis J. Rodriguez. Students' Reports of School Crime: 1989 and 1995, Kathryn A. Chandler, Christopher D. Chapman, Michael R. Rand, and Bruce M. Taylor. Supremacy Crimes, Gloria Steinem. I Prayed for Gun Control and Got Better Background Checks, Tonya M. Matthews.

4. The Violation of Body Space.

Violence Against Women: Physical and Mental Health Effects, Part I: Research Findings, Lisa A. Goodman, Mary P. Koss, and Nancy Felipe Russo. Violence in Intimate Relationships: A Feminist Perspective, bell hooks. Battering: Who's Going to Stop It?, Ann Jones. Healthy Choices, Janice Mirikitani. Acquaintance Rape: Revolution and Reaction, Paula Kamen. Preface; An Assault on Sexual Identity, Michael Scarce. Impact of Sexual Abuse on Children: A Review and Synthesis of Recent Empirical Studies, Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett, Linda Meyer Williams, and David Finkelhor. The Impossible, Bruce Weigl. Abuse, Toi Derricotte.

5. Violence and Sports.

Sporting Masculinities: Gender Relations and the Body, Andrew Parker. Sexuality and Power, Michael Messner and Donald Sabo. Sports: When Winning Is the Only Thing, Can Violence Be Far Away?, Myriam Medzian. Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction of Masculinities, Michael A. Messner. Our Guys: The Basement, Accusation and Denial, Bernard Lefkowitz. The Boys, the Broomhandle, and the Retarded Girl, Alicia Ostriker.

6. Media Representation of Violence.

Sin and Redemption: The Sugar Ray Leonard Wife-Abuse Story, Mike Messner and William Solomon. Why We Watch, Jeffrey Goldstein. Sizing Up the Effects, Sissela Bok. Aggression, Sissela Bok. Predictors of Children's Interest in Violent Television Programs, Joanne Cantor and Amy I. Nathanson. Lady Killers: Tough Enough?, Sherrie A. Inness.

7. Preventing Violence and Revisioning the Future.

What Works, and Why?, Joy Dryfoos. Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools, Keving Dwyer, David Osher, and Cynthia Warger. Guns, Gun Control, and Homicide: A Review of Research and Public Policy, Philip J. Cook and Mark H. Moore. It's Only Art, Karen Finley. Conclusion: Redefining Power, Terry Kupers. How To Create Less Violent Societies, James Gilligan.

Credits.

Read More Show Less

Preface

When we first conceptualized this book in 1996 we wanted to create a text that would speak to the many forms of violence occurring both domestically and globally. Moreover, we believed, and continue to believe, that much public and academic discourse still largely ignores the interrelationships between the different manifestations of violence and the construct of gender. Since the social construction of our gender greatly informs how we act, how we react, and how we function in our world, it seems crucial that we begin an inquiry into how our notions of gender influence the perpetration and experience of violence.

It quickly became apparent that we had to limit our focus to the United States for two reasons: addressing issues of worldwide violence and gender demands in-depth analysis that is beyond the scope of a single volume; equally importantly—and unfortunately—given the amount of violence in the United States, we certainly have more than enough material for investigation with this defined focus. Ironically enough, since September 11, 2001, Americans have become increasingly aware of and concerned about worldwide violence in forms such as terrorism, suicide bombers, the treatment of women in Afghanistan, and biological and chemical warfare. Despite this important change in the knowledge level and subsequent outlook of many Americans, we continue to believe that the violence many Americans experience "at home"—in our homes and schools, at our work, and on our streets—especially as it relates to the construction of gender, needs to be at the forefront of our national dialogues and debated in our classrooms.

Like many others, our interest in issues of violence and gender grows out of personal concerns. Children, who are often the victims and perpetrators of violence, are being born and raised in a society that abhors and yet remains fascinated with violence. A minority of men, who demonstrate their manhood in hostile ways, create a general fear of men in our culture. As a result, women often need to be afraid of the men whom they meet and with whom they develop intimate relationships. Children and adults of "other" religions, ethnicities, races, sexual preferences, and cultures are being subjected to the intolerance of the dominant culture. In addition, our national conversations about violence are often driven by individual incidents that are highly publicized in the media. Once these examples fade from the media and our attention, however, it is all too easy to move on with our lives and leave these issues behind. Clearly, we need thoughtful, sustained dialogues about the causes of violence, in conjunction with examinations of their relationships to gender.

As educators, we believe that the most effective way to promote this dialogue is to facilitate life-long learning for people of all ages. All of us need to develop informed opinions in order to understand the range of reasons why violence occurs, analyze the possible causes and effects of violence on others, form our own opinions about how to prevent such violent incidents, respect the opinions of others, and work toward solutions that better our lives. We believe that intolerance of the "Other" is usually caused by a lack of knowledge and understanding, by an unawareness of a different point of view. Education remains a critically important and effective way to minimize that ignorance and to begin the journey toward mutual tolerance.

The book that we have compiled is the outgrowth of an eight-credit interdisciplinary course on violence and gender that has been taught several times. The selected readings here present a number of perspectives on issues of violence and gender: from psychology; criminology; journalism; biology; sociology; history; law; cultural studies. This collection includes selections that utilize different disciplinary methods, including scholarly analyses, case studies, and research reports. Taken together, the texts can help us understand the phenomenon of violence and its links to gender.

The selections included in the book can also be used in conjunction with primary texts that focus more on the representation of violence and gender as seen through the multiple lenses of artists: novels, poems, feature films, and documentaries. We have found that it is often the case that people can better discuss and relate to controversial and sensitive issues through an interpretation of a film, an analysis of a novelistic character, or the powerful visual images in a poem. Throughout this book, therefore, we have inserted a number of poems as examples of yet another way to approach and to understand issues of violence and gender. As for other artistic representations, we have included after our Preface a list of the documentaries, feature films, and novels we have used for each section. These are only suggestions, of course, since there are so many possibilities that relate to the issues under consideration.

Violence and Gender: An Interdisciplinary Reader is divided into seven broad sections. In order to clarify the intellectual framework of this book, we have provided section introductions that elucidate how readings within each section link to each other, how various theories of violence and gender can be applied across the issues presented, and how one topic moves into another. These introductions also serve as a point of departure for thinking about both individual readings and broader issues, as they ask questions and raise points for discussion and reflection.

The first two sections of the book set up the important groundwork for better understanding and contextualizing the remainder of the material. Section I, "Conceptualizing Violence," introduces an array of disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship, ranging from history to biology, policy studies, public health, medicine, and psychology. Since each of these fields has contributed to and continues to contribute to our evolving understanding of the causes of violence and violent behavior, we have included a representative sampling of some of the most prominent ideas. While not exhaustive, we expect that you will come away with a significantly greater awareness of and appreciation for the complexity of understanding violence.

After examining different theoretical perspectives, we ask you to consider the "Social Construction of Masculinities, Femininities, and the 'Other,'" the topic of the second section of the book. This section presents ideas about how we form and are formed by society: how gender itself is defined; how male and female narratives differ; how we have created cultural stereotypes and myths of manhood; how women continue—or more recently refuse to continue—to be shaped by traditional visions of femininity; how males and females respond differently to anger and aggression; and how fear and misunderstanding of "Others" can lead to hatred and violence. Raising awareness of both cultural gender stereotypes and prejudices against other people is a central goal of this section.

After these two fundamental sections, we move on to "Youth Violence" where we address the phenomenon of gangs—male and female—and incidents of school violence, both related to problems such as school safety, crime, and guns. Several of the readings also call attention to the tendency toward prejudice and stereotyping of certain groups of youth. Given the increased national focus on youth violence, we are hopeful that these selections will begin to help you understand and talk about these issues, hopefully leading to a safer environment for our youth today.

Section IV is devoted to the "Violation of Body Space." The readings deal with the physical and mental health effects of battering and sexual assault on women; acquaintance rape; the psychological impact of sexual assault and rape on boys and men, particularly around sexual identity issues; and childhood sexual abuse. Domestic violence, rape, and child sexual abuse are unfortunately not limited to any one class, sex, ethnicity, race, or age. Recognizing what constitutes the violation of one's body space and developing empathy for survivors are some of our goals for this section.

A section on "Violence and Sports," the fifth section of this book, may come as a surprise to some, as many of us tend to think of sports as mere play. However, after reading about the relationships among sports, the male body image, and the construction of "sporting masculinities" and their potential influence on attitudes toward gender, you should see the relevance of this inquiry. This section also illuminates issues of athletic privilege and entitlement and focuses on one particular case study involving gang rape.

Current discussions that attempt to predict why some people—men, women, and children—become violent, often point to the dangers of our media. Accordingly, Section VI examines "Media Representation of Violence." After opening with a text that proposes an interesting link between violent sports and the media, we then tackle the question of why many people are attracted to violent entertainment. A major focus of national debates and research studies has been the potentially deleterious effects on children of watching violence. Given this, we ask readers to consider whether or not we have become desensitized to violence in entertainment because it is not "real." We close this section with a study of some of the popular stereotypes of tough and violent women in the mass media and how they form and inform our views of "appropriate" gender roles for women.

Finally in Section VII, "Preventing Violence and Revisioning the Future," we tackle issues surrounding the development of needed prevention and intervention programs, the debates on gun control and censorship, a redefinition of masculinity and of the balance of power between women and men, and ideas for reducing violence and violent behavior. Incidents of personal and public violence have been and continue to be so prevalent in the United States that some people have come to accept them as inevitable, especially as part of our increasingly diverse society. In fact, this belief in the innate evil nature of humans leads some to believe that little can be done to eradicate or even reduce acts of violence. We, however, believe in the possibility of a less violent society but maintain that the construction of gender needs to be reexamined in order to attain such a goal. It is our hope that the selections in this concluding section of the book will stimulate you to consider a range of possible solutions.

The complex issues surrounding violence and gender in the United States cannot be covered in one book. We leave it to individuals to delve further into research on the topics here, as well as on additional topics including: violence against self; institutional violence; extremist and supremacist groups; politics, war, and nationalism; terrorism; cultural, ethnic, religious, and racial violence; female genital mutilation; pornography; and international sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the list is long, and the need to understand these issues grows more and more urgent each day.

In deciding what readings to include and how to structure material for beginning an inquiry into issues of violence and gender, we have provided as broad an overview as possible. In choosing a particular aspect of violence and gender to study and in selecting particular texts, we have sought materials that offer a solid presentation and evoke dynamic responses. The best readings, in our view, are those that will provoke you into forming, analyzing, and questioning your own opinions and then encourage you to listen to the viewpoints—both convergent and divergent—of others. We trust that the topics that we have chosen and the texts that we have selected will stimulate you to think deeply about these important issues.

Read More Show Less

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