chapter  1
12 Pages

Mapping the Discourses of Heterosexual Interpersonal Violence

From a sociological perspective, public discourses about personal safety are interesting because they contradict how males and females actually experience violence in their daily lives. An apparently gender-neutral discourse reflects, in fact, the experience of heterosexual masculinity and a particular understanding of danger, harm and violence. Public discourses identify apparently stable gender identities at the local, social, and group levels. This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the argument that heterosexual interpersonal violence may be understood as an outcome of the investment in performances predicated on the production of gender difference. It focuses on child violence through an exploration of bullying, sexist behavior in classroom and sibling violence. The book also argues that heteronormativity structures sexual relations between women and men as coercive, and that adolescent most often explain this coercion through recourse to socio-biological discourses of gender difference.