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Violence as understandable, deserved or unacceptable? Listening for gender in teenagers' talk about violence

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JournalGender and Education
DateE-pub ahead of print - 12 Dec 2013
DatePublished (current) - 2013
Issue number7
Volume25
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)889-906
Early online date12/12/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Youth violence is a topic of increasing global concern. Research has primarily
focused on young people’s responses to existing definitions of violence in
seeking to understand how best to develop violence prevention. Little work has
explored how young people themselves define violence and the factors which
influence their acceptance, and use, of violent behaviour. The present study
investigated young people’s understandings of what constitutes violence, their
acceptance of violence and justifications made for doing so. The study was
distinct in its focus on young people’s characterisations of violence. The findings
revealed that gender norms mediate understandings of what constitutes violence
and discourses around the perceived acceptability of violence. Particular forms of
violence were clearly identified as being more acceptable and ‘deserved’ than
others and young people’s perceptions were shaped by their understandings of
appropriate and normative gender behaviour.

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