Biological/Historical Sexual Violence Discourse

  • Jane Monckton Smith


It would be impossible to talk about sexual violence without first contemplating the issue of human sexuality. Sex and sexuality are important organizing concepts in modern life and are said to be powerful behavioural drivers. There is a strong theoretical strand that considers human sexuality a dynamic process vulnerable to environmental and experiential influence; an equally powerful set of discourses exist which represent human sexuality as fixed, stable and genetically encoded as heterosexual. We can make sense of who we are with reference to our sexuality and Mottier describes a world ‘populated by people who define themselves as gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, bi-curious, exhibitionists…’ and so on (2008:1). Foucault identified what he perceived as an immense apparatus for producing truths around the concept of sex and claimed that the historically dominant framework which constructed heterosexuality as normal demonized certain sexual practices, like, for example, sodomy, by representing them as ‘against nature’ (1998:101). Conversely, heterosexual sexual practices and conventions were and are represented as natural, normal and biologically inscribed. Heterosexuality in this respect is more than merely an attraction to the opposite sex; as noted it is a set of practices, customs, language and relationships authorized as normal and natural by many powerful institutional sites.


Sexual Violence Human Sexuality Rape Myth Tonic Immobility City Wall 
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Copyright information

© Jane Monckton Smith 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Monckton Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Natural and Social SciencesUniversity of GloucestershireUK

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