Corporeal Dimensions of Gender Violence: Woman’s Self and Body

Cecilia Menjívar

in Enduring Violence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267664
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948419 | DOI:
Corporeal Dimensions of Gender Violence: Woman’s Self and Body

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This chapter focuses on the concrete corporeal manifestation of different forms of violence among ladinas in eastern Guatemala, using a sociologically informed approach. This approach situates corporeal questions within unequal social structures and thus contributes to debates about the relationship between body and society. However, in contrast to examining the issues of representation and sexuality, this chapter focuses on concrete expressions of social suffering, on how multiple forms of violence and macro forces coalesce on the body. It also illuminates how forces beyond the individual's control reach lives and bodies in deeply personal ways. In addition, this chapter emphasizes how “history, power, and gender operate through embodied subjectivity and concrete bodily activity”; how the body connects women to extralocal, even global realms; and how suffering is normalized in small and routine moments. First, the chapter examines the physical expressions of violence as they are manifested in the women's bodies. Second, the chapter highlights the normalization of gender inequality and domination of the physical sphere of body ailments. It then discusses how the embodiment of violence is expressed in the control of the body in the social milieu.

Keywords: violence; ladinas; social structures; social suffering; gender; gender inequality; body

Chapter.  16278 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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