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Technology and Violence Against Women

The Emerald Handbook of Feminism, Criminology and Social Change

ISBN: 978-1-78769-956-4, eISBN: 978-1-78769-955-7

Publication date: 2 July 2020


As the role and uptake of digital media, devices and other technologies increases, so has their presence in our lives. Technology has revolutionised the speed, type and extent of communication and contact between individuals and groups, transforming temporal, geographic and personal boundaries. There have undoubtedly been benefits associated with such shifts, but technologies have also exacerbated existing patterns of gendered violence and introduced new forms of intrusion, abuse and surveillance. In order to understand and combat harm and, protect and empower women, criminologists must investigate these practices. This chapter discusses how technology has transformed the enactment of violence against women.

Typically, studies have focussed on particular types of technology-facilitated violence as isolated phenomenon. Here, the author examines, more holistically, a range of digital perpetration: by persons unknown, who may be known and are known to female targets. These digital harms should, the author contends, be viewed as part of what Kelly (1988) conceptualised as a ‘continuum of violence’ (and Stanko, 1985 as ‘continuums of unsafety’) to which women are exposed, throughout the course of our lives. These behaviours do not occur in a vacuum. Violence is the cause and effect of inequalities and social control, which manifests structurally and institutionally, offline and online. Technologies are shaped by these forces, and investigating the creation, governance and use of technologies provides insight how violence is enacted, fostered and normalised.



Harris, B.A. (2020), "Technology and Violence Against Women", Walklate, S., Fitz-Gibbon, K., Maher, J. and McCulloch, J. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Feminism, Criminology and Social Change (Emerald Studies in Criminology, Feminism and Social Change), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 317-336.



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