Galtung, Violence, and Gender: The Case for a Peace Studies/Feminism Alliance


Confortini, Catia. 2006. “Galtung, Violence, and Gender: The Case for a Peace Studies/Feminism Alliance.” Peace & Change 31 (3): 333–67.

Author: Catia Confortini


[Confortini's] paper argues for an incorporation of feminist theories into peace theories, by analyzing what is missing by not confronting feminist contributions to a theory on violence. [Confortini] take[s] Johan Galtung’s theory of violence as a point of departure, as a theory that is widely uncontested in peace studies. Galtung’s articulation of direct, structural, and cultural violence offers a unified framework within which all violence can be seen. On the  other hand, feminism can contribute to and enrich Galtung’s theory of violence in four possible ways: 1. Galtung’s theory needs to incorporate notions  of  gender as a social construct embodying relations of power. 2. Dichotomous, mutually exclusive categories that shape our understanding of the world are gendered and they are key to the production and reproduction of violence at all levels. 3. Gendered language defines the possibility and impossibility of pursuing different visions of the social world. Violence and peace can be constituted through language. 4. Violence produces and defines gender identities  and, in turn, is produced and defined by them. These contributions have important implications for peace studies: only by taking gender seriously as  a  category of analysis, can prescriptions for a violence-free society be more than temporary solutions to deeply ingrained attitudes to accept violence as “natural.”

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Peacebuilding, Violence

Year: 2006

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