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traversing the 'particular' through the 'universal': the politics of negotiating violent masculinities in Cambodia

Mona Lilja
Feminist Review
No. 101, conflict (2012), pp. 41-58
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41495232
Page Count: 18
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traversing the 'particular' through the 'universal': the politics of negotiating violent masculinities in Cambodia
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Abstract

The article analyses programmes against gender-based violence (GBV) in Cambodia in order to understand what notions of power, agency and resistance reside within these programmes. The text relies on in-depth interviews with four different organisations in Cambodia. The interviews display a number of hands-on practices of resistance against GBV, which require a broad discussion of identity in order to be fully understood. In particular, the organisations emphasize the importance of approaching men—in men's groups, as trainers and role models—in the resistance against GBV. In their approach to Cambodian men, the trainers mixed representations of a more 'particular' character with representations of a more 'universal' appearance. Both in the establishment of new subject positions and new discourses, the Cambodian trainers leaned upon and alternated between universal and particular notions. In addition, men's 'particular' subject positions became the very lens through which they considered 'universal' notions of violent masculinities. New aspects of the resistance against GBV thus become visible as the concepts of universalism and particularism are put in use. It is in the nexus between 'universal' and 'particular' representations that a non-violent masculinity is fostered.

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