Theoretical Challenges to the Study of Heterosexual Interpersonal Violence
This chapter focuses on recent sociological analyses of gender, power and interpersonal relationships which challenge the immutable association between masculinity and violence. Socio-biology provides one of the most pervasive, popular and enduring discourses on the relationship between gender and all forms of violence. Contemporary socio-biological research on violence largely examines the influence of hormones and genes. Psychological theories tend to focus on a priori factors considered to correlate with, or predict, heterosexual interpersonal violence. The most significant problem with psychological theories of interpersonal violence is that, like biological theories, there is a necessary reliance on the invocation of gender difference. Arguably the most significant influence on sociological theories of heterosexual interpersonal violence is feminist theory. Connell's multiple gender theory invokes a particular notion of identity, as composed of a number of 'parts', often termed 'subject positions'. Early feminist theories of interpersonal violence relied on the dominant conceptualization of power formulated in the 1960s and 1970s.