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Gender and Violence in Spanish Culture

From Vulnerability to Accountability


Edited By María José Gámez Fuentes and Rebeca Maseda García

For the true exercise of citizenship to occur, gender violence must be eradicated, as it is not an interpersonal problem, but an attack on the very concept of democracy. Despite increasing social awareness and legal measures taken to fight gender violence, it is still prevalent worldwide. Even in a country such as Spain, praised in the UN Handbook for Legislation on Violence Against Women (2010) for its advanced approach on gender violence, the legal framework has proved insufficient and deeper sociocultural changes are needed. This book presents, in this respect, groundbreaking investigations in the realm of politics, activism, and cultural production that offer both a complex picture of the agents involved in its transformation and a nuanced panorama of initiatives that subvert the normative framework of recognition of victims of gender violence. As a result, the book chapters articulate a construction of the victim as a subject that reflects and acts upon his/her experience and vulnerability, and also adopt perspectives that frame accountability within the representational tradition, the community, and the state.

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The Configuration of Gender Violence: A Matrix to Be Reloaded (María José Gámez Fuentes / Rebeca Maseda García)


part one

The Configuration of Gender Violence

A Matrix to Be Reloaded

María José Gámez Fuentes and Rebeca Maseda García

The Fight Against Gender Violence

The concern to eliminate gender violence is not a novelty in the global context. As some scholars insist, violence against people based on their gender is not an interpersonal problem, but an attack on the very concept of citizenship, as it impacts on the realization, of certain individuals, ‘of certain civil and political rights, economic and development rights, and social and cultural rights’ (Manjoo 2016: 12). It violates equality and nondiscrimination rights, and it attacks the liberty and security—mentally and bodily—of the person. However, when speaking of gender and violence, violence committed particularly against women soon comes to mind. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), or The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) all refer to violence against women when using the term ‘gender-based violence.’ Historically the word gender is a synonym for women, and “gender” is preferred because it ‘designate[s] social relations between the sexes’ (information about women is necessarily information about men), and its use ‘explicitly rejects biological explanations’ (gender becomes a way of denoting cultural constructions) (Scott 1986: 1056). At the same time, the frequency of men inflicting violence upon women and girls substantiates the interchangeability between those terms.


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