Sexualising the Social: Power and the Organisation of Sexuality

In this chapter we examine recent debates about the meaning of sexual victimization.

September 16, 1996

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Sexualizing the Social

Power and the Organization of Sexuality

Lisa Adkins and Vicki Merchant (eds.), Macmillan

Chapter title: Beyond Victim or Survivor: Sexual Violence, Identity and Feminist Theory and Practice Kelly, Liz (et al.)

1996, Sexualizing the Social, pages 77-101

In this chapter we examine recent debates about the meaning of sexual victimization. These struggles have implications for feminist praxis; for theory, research and practice. We explore several locations from which challenges to previous feminist re-definitions emerge; specifically, recent popularist publications which use, in a pejorative tone, the term ‘victim’ or ‘victimhood’ feminism and academic contestation of prevalence research. In the second half of the paper we connect these themes with a discussion of what we call ‘the victim/survivor dichotomy’, which represents another element in debates about the extent and meaning of sexual victimization.

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