Winning the battle but losing the war on violence: A feminist perspective on the declining global violence thesis

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Scholars have recently claimed that global violence - defined largely as homicide and casualties from war - is in steep decline. However, research dedicated to using data to prove the decline of violence, in particular Steven Pinker s book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, almost completely neglects evidence of gendered violence within and across states. This methodological and analytical failure results from flawed theoretical assumptions about what violence is and how to count violent incidences. While prevalence surveys show that a large proportion of women and girls (not to mention men and boys) experience sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), it does not appear in declinist analyses. This is especially problematic given the burgeoning evidence of SGBV's scale and significance in current conflicts, often as a tactic of war targeting civilians. Analyzing global violence from a feminist perspective thus radically challenges declinist views about trends of violence. The explicitly feminist perspective on international relations in this article provides a more universal accounting of global violence, and the contemporary changes in the nature and forms of violence. (c) 2015 Taylor Francis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554 - 572
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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