(De)stabilizing sexual violence discourse: Masculinization of victimhood, organizational blame, and labile imperialism

Kate Lockwood Harris, Jenna N. Hanchey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Following calls to center nation, we analyze sexual violence discourse in the US Peace Corps. The texts we consider deploy three typical dichotomies—public/private, self/other, and agent/victim—that, in this case, reveal inconsistencies at the intersections of race and gender. We argue that these inconsistencies are evidence of lability, counterintuitive discursive shifts necessary to maintain white heteromasculine dominance. Instead of blaming individual victims of rape and assault, the masculinization of victimhood shifts culpability to the Peace Corps. This organizational blame maintains the moral position of the US and legitimates imperialism. By marking these instabilities, we trace the solidity and vulnerability of sexual violence discourse as it organizes global power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-341
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication and Critical/ Cultural Studies
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Discourse
  • Intersectionality
  • Organization
  • Peace corps
  • Postcolonialism
  • Sexual violence

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