The sex in your violence patriarchy and power in anthropological world building and everyday life

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13 Scopus citations


In its broadest conceptualization, violence includes everything from physical assault to the creation and maintenance of institutional structures that are discriminatory and exclusionary. However, violence as a topic of biological and archaeological anthropological inquiry has often been limited to malevolent physical assault perpetrated by men against other men. This is due to an outsized focus on the role that men played in the evolutionary history of our species. This conceptualization of violence obscures both the ways that other forms of harm—other violence(s) also often committed by men—structure the daily lives of people who do not have significant social or institutional power and how this harm becomes embodied. In this paper I explore how gendered knowledge production in anthropology has influenced our acceptance of what counts as meaningful harm. I posit that the threat of physical violence and encounters with other violence(s), specifically emotional and structural violence, shape the lives of people who are structurally disadvantaged in ways that are missing from our analyses. When we forgo emphases on war and murder and choose to study other violence(s) that are enacted in families and relationships, we become aware of the kinds of hidden assaults that are often meted out in small doses, eventually accumulating and impacting individual mental and physical health and survivorship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S92-S102
JournalCurrent anthropology
Issue numberS23
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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