Criminalizing Male Violence in Brazil's Women's Police Stations: From Flawed Essentialism to Imagined Communities


Hautzinger, Sarah. 2002. "Criminalising Male Violence in Brazil's Women's Police Stations: From Flawed Essentialism to Imagined Communities." Journal of Gender Studies 11 (3): 243-51. 

Author: Sarah Hautzinger


In Brazil, the creation of all-female police stations to encourage the denunciation and prosecution of violent crimes against women represents one of several examples of state-institutionalised feminism. This paper recounts the history of the implementation of these innovative institutions, and examines difficulties encountered in this experience, with particular focus on the differences between the predominantly white, middle-class feminists that originated the idea and the predominantly black, working-class policewomen charged with carrying it out. Anti-essentialist theory is useful for understanding the flawed logic that produced inappropriate expectations of policewomen. However, the paper concludes that this perspective offers little direction for furthering the nascent reform of law enforcement, and offers a feminist version of an imagined communities model in its place.

Topics: Domestic Violence, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Security, Security Sector Reform Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Brazil

Year: 2002

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