• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The problem of men's violence to known women-principally wives, partners, girlfriends-is, at last, more widely recognized. The Violences of Men addresses the problem of men's violence to known women within the broad context of men's use of power and violence in society. Jeff Hearn considers the scale of men's violence against women, and critically reviews the theoretical frameworks that are used to explain this violence. From the perspective of “critical studies of men,” he discusses issues, challenges, and possible research methods for those studying and researching violence, and particularly men's violence to known women. He then draws on extensive original research to analyze the various ways in which men describe, deny, justify, and excuse their violence, and considers the complex interaction between doing violence and talking about violence. He goes on to examine agencies' responses to men's violence, ranging from avoidance to policy and practice innovations and possibilities, before discussing ways that some men may move away from violence. The Violences of Men makes an important contribution both to theoretical debates about how to understand men's violence, and to debates on appropriate policy and practice in response to that violence.

The Sexual Subtexts of Talk about Violence1
The sexual subtexts of talk about violence

When men talk about violence, many things are not said. This is even so when men appear to be fully co-operative in disclosing violence. Those contexts that are not explicitly referred to - gender, sexuality, age, race, family life, and so on - do not disappear; they remain within the text but as sub texts, scarcely spoken. Indeed it could be argued that subtexts are implicit contexts. The subtext is hidden, not known, not fully conscious. It is not a mere surface. It might be ‘repressed’, ‘omitted’, ‘forgotten’. It is silence. Thus possible contexts - such as ‘adulthood’, ‘whiteness’, ‘heterosexuality’, ‘family life’ - may all be unspoken, forgotten, unnoticed and unnamed.

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