Speaking of 'Violence'
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In this project, I engineer a new concept, which I call a “violence figleaf”, in order to make sense of the many instances of gendered violence which are dismissed or characterized as some other kind of thing: a misunderstanding, a change of heart by the victim, a mischaracterization of the perpetrator, or any other number of things which are not “assault”, “rape”, or “violence”. Conceptual engineering promises to expand on the language and cognitive resources available to people in deciphering what, exactly, is going on when observations and moral judgements orthogonal to an instance of gendered violence are treated as relevant to the violent act. In some sense, violence figleaves are an application of Jennifer Saul’s work on racial and gender figleaves, as the underlying mechanics of the deceptive utterance track those of Saul’s figleaves. In other words, I am developing a species of the genus, 'figleaf'. At the same time, violence figleaves are a concept of their own, and represent a new conceptual resource for the analyzing and understanding of gendered violence discourse. Insofar as this work enriches conceptual resources regarding deceptive speech in contexts of gendered violence, it is a meaningful work of conceptual engineering.
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Madeleine Kenyon (2022). Speaking of 'Violence'. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18579