Power and Gender

Marie Keenan

in Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199895670
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919604 | DOI:
Power and Gender

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This chapter reviews literature emanating from both feminist scholars and from a growing body of research in the field of men's studies, sometimes also known as the study of masculinities. Feminist literature, combined with masculinity studies, have much to offer an analysis of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. By emphasizing power and powerlessness in relation to structured social relations, such as the position of a child relative to an adult, or the position of a child relative to a minister of the Catholic Church, feminists and masculinities scholars have highlighted the power dimension to a discussion that heretofore may have lacked such an analytical frame. More recent feminist theories and scholarship on masculinities have brought something new to this analysis, especially those aspects that suggest that individuals do not inhabit single categories, such as gender, but are much more complexly positioned in life, in relation to race, class, sexual orientation, religion, age, physical appearance, fitness, and mental ability. This recent feminist and masculinities literature gives rise to the idea that power relations are rather more complex than might have been originally suggested, when power was conceptualized solely in terms of domination or coercion.

Keywords: child sexual abuse; men's studies; culture; gender; male socialization; power relations; feminist studies; masculinity studies; Catholic clergy

Chapter.  6266 words. 

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