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Symbolic Violence as a Form of Violence Against Women in Politics: A Critical Examination

Nota de iNvestigacióN: Symbolic Violence aS a Form oF Violence
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Nueva Época, Año lxv, núm. 238 enero-abril de 2020 pp. 379-389 ISSN-2448-492X
Symbolic Violence as a Form of Violence
against Women in Politics: A Critical Examination
La violencia simbólica como forma de violencia
contra las mujeres en la política: Un análisis crítico
Gabrielle Bardall
Recibido: 27 de diciembre de 2018
Aceptado: 20 de mayo de 2019
Violence against women in politics ( ) is an issue that has rapidly gained notoriety in
academic works as well as in the policy world, to the extent that Mexico’s National Electoral
Institute (), the Federal Electoral Tribunal () and the Prosecutor Specialized in
Electoral Crimes presented the “Protocolo para la Atención de la Violencia Política contra
las Mujeres en Razón de Género(hereaer, ‘the Protocol’, 2017) ahead of the most recent
elections. e protocol aims to detect, prevent and mitigate gender-based political violence,
which is a recurrent problem across Mexico and worldwide, including within political parties
and even in the Chamber of Senators and Deputies. However, the scientic exploration on
 is still imperfect and emerging. is research note expresses reections on one of the
most challenging inquiry areas in this eld, which has signicant implications both for fu-
ture academic directions in this eld and for the practical applications of Mexicos Protocol
and other similar laws under consideration across Latin America. is is the issue of what
is —and what is not— an actual form of  .
Violence against women in politics is a pervasive and debilitating problem for democracies
worldwide, as demonstrated in the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against
Women, its Causes and Consequences ( ) report A/73/301 (, ) in October
2018. e category of symbolic violence was adapted from sociology and appended to
earlier typologies of gendered political violence1 by Krook (2017) and Krook and Restrepo
International Foundation for Electoral Systems () and Center for International Policy Studies, University of
Ottawa. E-mail: <>.
1 e rst four elements of Krook’s classication reprised an existing typology published and presented previously by
Bardall in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016, and subsequently adapted with various modications by several international
organizations including the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (), the National Democratic Institute
(), the United Nations Development Program () and  Women.
Gabrielle bardal
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Nueva Época, Año lxv, núm. 238 enero-abril de 2020 pp. 379-389 ISSN-2448-492X
(2016a, b).2 Although not included in the   denition of , the category of symbolic
violence was rapidly integrated into other inuential policy documents, most notably into
the Ley Modelo Interamericana sobre Violencia Política contra las Mujeres (article 3) of the
Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention () of the Organization of
American States, and into Mexico’s Protocol. e introduction of symbolic violence to the
growing conversation on  is important but fraught.
is research note deepens the examination of symbolic forms of  by situating the
concept in relation to its theoretical origins, deconstructing it to provide further specicity
and considering its value added in terms of conceptual contributions as well as legal and
social attributes. is paper argues that, although symbolic violence impacting women
is a serious issue, it should not be regarded as part of a typology of  because of its
dissimilarities to other recognized types of , including in its forms, outcomes, motives
and governing normative frameworks as well as the inability to document it with quantitative
data. Furthermore, incorporating symbolic violence as a category among others poses distinct
practical and ethical challenges for law enforcement. Instead, symbolic violence should be
studied among other theories of social control and domination.
To understand the place of symbolic violence among other forms of , we need to
recall a few key points about the theoretical progenitors of : political violence () and
gender-based violence (). Mainstream research denes political violence as random or
organized acts that seek to determine, delay or inuence political processes through the use of
destructive and broadly illegal behaviors resulting in material harm. Perpetrators intentionally
seek to coercively dene political outcomes, using methods that violate international norms
and/or national laws. Recognizing that political violence acts dierently on dierent sexes, a
gendered view of political violence incorporates forms of violence that aect women as well
as men, specically physical (including sexual), economic and socio-psychological violence
(Bardall, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016; Krook, 2017; Krook & Restrepo, 2016a, 2016b; ,
2018). As with the classic denition, these acts of violence are interpersonal, recognizable
by their motive, timing and targets and exercised consciously by their perpetrators upon
victims who resist being harmed.
Symbolic violence is recognized by a growing number of authors as acting upon women’s
political participation (Albaine, 2014; Archenti & Albaine, 2013; Cerva, 2014; Krook, 2017;
2 Since this article was accepted for publication and aer review of an earlier version of this piece, author M.L. Kro-
ok revised this typology, replacing “symbolic” violence with “symbiotic” violence (Krook 2019, cited in Krook and
Restrepo-Sanin, July 2019). According to the revised typology, semiotic violence is perpetrated through degrading
images and sexist language, using strategies of objectication, symbolic annihilation and negative gendered language.
However, the original concept of symbolic violence remains in the Mexican Protocol and s model law and
is cited in dozens of scholarly works. It is incumbent to engage in critical conversation about this concept. Further, it
is necessary to understand the distinction between the earlier concept of symbolic violence and symbiotic violence.
Nota de iNvestigacióN: Symbolic Violence aS a Form oF Violence
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Nueva Época, Año lxv, núm. 238 enero-abril de 2020 pp. 379-389 ISSN-2448-492X
Krook & Restrepo, 2016a, 2016b; Machicao, 2004, 2011) and was formally added to the
academic classication of  by Krook (2017). Comprised of acts which “delegitimize
female politicians through gendered tropes denying them competence in the political sphere
Krook and Restrepo (2016a) assert that symbolic violence “operates at the level of portrayal
and representation, seeking to erase or nullify women’s presence in political oce” (p. 144).
e acts of symbolic  described in these works can be deconstructed into two
subcategories: acts of commission and acts of omission. According to the examples Krook
(2017) and Krook and Restrepo (2016a, 2016b) provide, symbolic  includes acts of
commission, ranging from inciting bodily harm (such as incitation of physical aggression
via social media), “negative treatment that ‘crosses the line’ and becomes violence when
it entails fundamental disrespect for human dignity…, sexist comments and harassment,
sexual objectication, and proactive eorts to silence women in public life through legal or
publicity devices. Under this formulation, symbolic  also includes acts of omission,
such as rendering women invisible, “not recognizing, or explicitly denying the existence
of, a female politician for the simple fact of being a woman” and when women experience
diculty in asserting their authority, when their qualications are questioned on the basis
of their sex and where their ideas are appropriated by men (Krook, 2017; Krook & Restrepo,
2016a, 2016b).
e introduction of symbolic violence to the typology of gendered forms of political
violence is signicant for scholars of democratization. It marks a conceptual break from the
origins in comparative democratization and translates the conversation into the languages
of feminist political theory and sociology. e use of the term in the context of recent 
writing diers signicantly from mainstream research, drawing instead on Bourdieu’s
sociological theory, where the dominated class (e.g. women) is the target of inuence, not
a proxy.
e phrase ‘symbolic violence’ was introduced into the  conversation with perfunctory
acknowledgement of its parent theory; however, deep understanding the root concept is vital
to situating it meaningfully as a potential form of  aecting democratization processes
in the world. is author makes no claim of being a sociologist, but a few basic lessons on
Bourdieu’s theory are called for at this juncture if we want to make a meaningful examination
of if and how this concept has its place at the table of other forms of violence in the political
space. Hold on to your hats, this is something of a mind-bender for political science readers:
To Bourdieu (1979, 1991, 2001), symbolic violence is the purposeful imposition of the ideas
and values of a ruling cultural class (for example, men with certain social characteristics) onto a
dominated social group, such as women, oen through subconscious means (Udasmoro, 2013).
Symbolic violence is the voluntary submission to legally-sanctioned relations of domination
resulting in and sustaining a social power imbalance. Key to Bourdieu’s symbolic violence
is the perception of its legitimacy by all parties directly concerned (Bourdieu & Passeron,
Gabrielle bardal
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Nueva Época, Año lxv, núm. 238 enero-abril de 2020 pp. 379-389 ISSN-2448-492X
1990; Jenkins, 1992). is legitimacy relies on three core factors: consent, complicity and
misrecognition (Morgan & Björkert, 2006). Coercion occurs when the dominated consent
to their domination because they understand the situation to be normal, legal and legitimate
(Bourdieu, 2001, p. 170). Bourdieu (1991) states: “Symbolic violence can only be exercised…
in a form which results in its misrecognition… which results in its recognition as legitimate
(p. 140). is unconscious complicity between dominated and dominator is the dening
characteristic of symbolic violence. Although Bourdieu believed the classic example of the
existence of symbolic violence existed in the repression of women in modern western society,
symbolic violence is not considered to be a gender-specic phenomenon (Krais, 1993).
Bourdieu’s theory has sparked decades of intense debate. While political scientists have
overlooked it, sociologists have misinterpreted and misappropriated it (Topper, 2001).
Others question the very existence of symbolic violence, characterizing it as “contentious,
intellectually suspect and conceptually hazardous —not a category of violence the rigorous
analyst of social life is eager to add to the already troubled eld of violence studies” (Colaguori,
2010, p. 396). To Collins (2008), “‘symbolic violence’ is mere theoretical wordplay; to take it
literally would be to grossly misunderstand the nature of real violence” (p. 25).
In adapting symbolic violence as an additional type of  , we too should ask Colaguori’s
(2010) questions: “Is symbolic violence a valid and useful concept that captures some social
scientic fact that adds understanding to the sovereign role of violence in the geopolitics of
the present age? Or is symbolic violence an imprecise way to speak about power relations
and forms of domination that are better accommodated within the existing lexicon of critical
sociology?” (p. 391) —or that of political science?
Sociological symbolic violence deviates from other forms of  in several signicant
ways. Under the four other forms of  (physical, psychological, sexual, economic),
there is no question in recognizing when an act of violence has occurred, by whom and
against whom (as much as perpetrators may try to ee or disguise their acts). In contrast,
Bourdieu’s violence breaks with existing parameters of violence because symbolic violence
is based on the consent of its victims and the shared, unconscious complicity of all parties.
To Bourdieu, symbolic violence can usually exist where both parties are unconscious that
it is occurring and misrecognize it as a legitimate social order. In contrast, other forms of
 are fundamentally conscious behaviors dened by intentional injury. Although the
victims of  may submit to violence for various reasons, they do not consent to it. 
is necessarily illegitimate and illegal under national law and/or international human rights
is distinction is reective of the broader purposes and nature of these violences.
Whereas  violates norms and laws of social relationships, symbolic violence imposes
and legitimizes norms, laws and systems. is kind of violence is a generative one and serves
as “a mechanism to constitute, uphold and organize existing social relations” (Colaguori,
Nota de iNvestigacióN: Symbolic Violence aS a Form oF Violence
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Nueva Época, Año lxv, núm. 238 enero-abril de 2020 pp. 379-389 ISSN-2448-492X
2010, p. 392). In contrast, political violence is a phenomenon that is “purely destructive and
dysfunctional, deviant and aberrant, but does not necessarily transform the very nature of
social life” (Colaguori, 2010, p. 392).
ese dierences are reected in corresponding methodological and empirical incom-
patibilities. Symbolic violence is diuse and cannot be measured discretely, by prevalence
or by incidence (Ballington, 2016). Colaguori (2010) notes, “because symbolic violence is
a speculation on the sociology of consciousness it oen escapes the quantiable realm of
the empirical” (p. 396). us, symbolic forms of  cannot be recorded with the same
tools as the other forms of  or measured by the same standards. ese distinctions are
summarized in Figure 1.
Figure 1
Summary: Political, Gender-Based and Symbolic Violence Compared
Typ e
Dened by
tor or iden-
tiable by
the object or
timing of at-
Varies -
e most restric-
tive denitions
limit to fatalities;
the most expanded
denitions include
bodily harm, sex-
ual, economic, so-
norms and
tive and
means to
or coerce
 19
(art 1 & 2)
Identied by
victim or de-
termined by
the form
physical, sexual,
cal, economic
norms and
tive and
means to
chal so-
cial con-
Gabrielle bardal
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Nueva Época, Año lxv, núm. 238 enero-abril de 2020 pp. 379-389 ISSN-2448-492X
Motives Type Forms Outcome Purpose
n/a None - Per-
petrator is
of perpetrat-
ing act, vic-
tim is com-
plicit and
to victimiza-
Unconscious acts
of commission and
omission that sus-
tain and nurture
structural inequali-
ties in daily life and
norms and
social or-
der (in-
nism to
and up-
hold so-
cial order,
Beyond this academic incongruity, legal and ethical applications of the concept reect si-
milar challenges. Where measurement of  can be dened against a (rapidly growing)
framework of national, regional and international laws and normative conventions, there
is and can be no arbiter for symbolic violence. Because, by denition, symbolic violence is
legitimate and legal and not recognized as a violation either by its victims or perpetrators or
by an international normative framework, there is no culturally or legally consistent basis
for dening a scientic standard of measurement. Policy frameworks like the  model
law and the Mexican Protocol that try to codify and penalize symbolic violence are, at best,
tangled in an oxymoronic misuse of Bourdieu’s phrase, and at worst, faithful interpretations
of Bourdieu open a Pandora’s box of legal ethics.3
While (mis)applications of the concept in the policy world may cause confusion, the
disparities described do not imply a dierence in conceptual merit between competing
denitions, but only their scientic dissimilarity: to measure symbolic violence is to assess
how power imbalances are constructed; to measure political, gender-based violence or 
is to gauge how power structures and human rights are violated.
From this brief assessment, how may we respond to Colaguori’s query? Sociologists will
ultimately decide, but political scientists should recognize that adaptations and extensions
of the concept of symbolic violence must fully anchor it to its theoretical origins (or dene
where it deviates), defend it against competing theories of social control and purposefully
situate it among other forms of violence. With these caveats in mind, further research on
symbolic violence’s relationship to  promises to yield rich insight.
For one, we may recognize the benets and limitations of symbolic  in the policy
sphere. Piscopo (2016) rightly argues that expansions of the concept of violence against
3 To extract themselves from this semantic cul-de-sac, policymakers are advised to either invest in deeper, explicit
denitions or to drop the phrase ‘symbolic violence’ altogether and focus instead on legislating enforceable violations.
Nota de iNvestigacióN: Symbolic Violence aS a Form oF Violence
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Nueva Época, Año lxv, núm. 238 enero-abril de 2020 pp. 379-389 ISSN-2448-492X
women in politics are useful from an advocacy perspective. However, sociological symbolic
violence does not have an application for victim protection (because, where victims exist, they
are unaware, complicit and consenting) or for legal purposes (no law can exist against legal
behavior not identied as harm). As a policy goal in the eld of international elections and
democracy assistance, eliminating symbolic violence conicts with principles of sovereignty
because the “violence” is legal and legitimate to all parties directly concerned. Only when
violence is recognized as a violation is there a basis for intervention.
From an academic perspective, two prerequisite examinations must occur before there
can be consensus on adapting symbolic violence into the typology of  . First, the
case must be made for why symbolic violence is the most compelling sociological control
mechanism where womens political participation is concerned, among a “constellation of
concepts aimed at the critique of domination” (Colaguori, 2010, p. 394). Specically, symbolic
violence should be examined as one of several competing theories of social control, from
Marx (economic domination) to Durkheim (social regulation through group cohesion) to
Bourdieu’s theoretical antecedent, Weber (legitimate bureaucratic regulation of society)
(Ellickson, 1987, see also Schroyer, 1973). e rapid adoption of the phrase “symbolic
violence” by  scholars and advocates has seized upon a micro-interpretation of the
literal term without examining it as the social theory Bourdieu intended. Comparatively
revisiting symbolic violence as a theory of social control will reveal whether or not it is best
suited to explain or describe aspects of .
Second, if the preceding examination determines that symbolic violence is, indeed, the
most appropriate theory to explain  , the next step for researchers is to prove current
assumptions by demonstrating if and how symbolic  operates as a sub-type within
a classication of multiple forms of violence. Specically, scholars must situate symbolic
 in relation to its parent concept, expounding on how Bourdieu’s core notions of
misrecognition and consent operate in the political sphere. From this, socio-psychological
forms of violence (where harm is consciously perpetrated and experienced) may be better
distinguished from symbolic violence (where no harm is perceived to exist). For example,
threats of physical violence provoking protest or resistance on the part of the victim may
be excluded as forms of symbolic violence.
e answers to these questions will rene our understanding of symbolic  as a form
of violence and help locate it in relation to the typology of  . e preceding analysis
suggests that symbolic violence is fundamentally dierent from other types of . How,
then, can it be interpreted? Is it a cause of acts of “hard” violence (Krook & Restrepo, 2016a;
Morgan & Björkert, 2006) or a form of violence unto itself (or both)? Is there a missing step
between “hard violence” (physical, sexual, psychological, economic) and symbolic violence,
for example other forms of “so violence” that may consciously/illegitimately contribute to
social domination and/or violate rights without threatening the person with direct harm?
Gabrielle bardal
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Nueva Época, Año lxv, núm. 238 enero-abril de 2020 pp. 379-389 ISSN-2448-492X
Is it a sub-type of socio-psychological violence, existing at the level of the unconscious? Or,
as this author has suggested, is it a supra-category, exceeding boundaries of explicit harm
or threat of harm, but dening and establishing structures of domination and inequality?
(Bardall, 2016) Until these questions are addressed, symbolic violence should be excluded
from the typology of forms of  or risk over-extending the concept and diluting it beyond
usefulness. Women’s political inclusion faces numerous barriers, including both violence as
well as structural (sometimes symbolic) obstacles which should be examined and addressed
as distinct, though sometimes related, problems.
Nota de iNvestigacióN: Symbolic Violence aS a Form oF Violence
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Nueva Época, Año lxv, núm. 238 enero-abril de 2020 pp. 379-389 ISSN-2448-492X
About the author
G B is Ph.D from the Université de Montréal. She is Gender Advisor at the
International Foundation for Electoral Systems () and a Research Fellow with the Uni-
versity of Ottawas Centre for International Policy Studies. Her research helped pioneer the
eld of violence against women in elections and digital forms of gendered political violence.
Her recent publications include (with Elin Bjarnegård and Jennifer M. Piscopo) “How is
Political Violence Gendered? Disentangling Motives, Forms, and Impacts” (Forthcoming,
2019) Political Studies; “Violence, Politics, and Gender” (2018) Oxford Research Encyclope-
dia of Politics; “Coding Competitive Authoritarianism” (2016) Zeitschri für Vergleichende
Politikwissenscha, 10(1).
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Tula (eds.) La representación política imperfecta: logros y desafíos de las mujeres políticas.
Buenos Aires: Editorial Eudeba.
Archenti, Nélida and Laura Albaine (2013) “Los desafíos de la paridad de género. Tensión
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Gabrielle bardal
Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Nueva Época, Año lxv, núm. 238 enero-abril de 2020 pp. 379-389 ISSN-2448-492X
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Nota de iNvestigacióN: Symbolic Violence aS a Form oF Violence
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... Problematically, gender inequalities pervade every part of our social being (Krook 2017, Bardall 2020, concluding that behaviours of intimidation, harm and harassment towards women are seen as an unfortunate nature of 'politics as usual', rather than a serious threat and affront to democracy (Krook 2017, p. 74). ...
... Alongside Krook, Bardall's (2020) builds on Krook's research on violence against women in politics, focusing on the term symbolic violence (drawing on Bourdieu's theory), being a category, which has been recently integrated into Mexican policy documents as an important and valuable term impacting women. Bardall's (2020) qualitative study argues that symbolic violence should not just be regarded as part of a typology of violence against women in politics (generally), but more specifically, acts of symbolic violence against women politicians identifiably in two subcategories: firstly, 'acts of commission', such as inciting bodily harm, making sexists comments, harassment and sexual objectification, and secondly, 'acts of omission' which involve rendering women invisible, questioning their qualifications on the basis of their sex or the fact of simply being a woman (Bardall 2020, p. 381). Symbolic violence departs from classical forms of symbolic violence -that is, physical, psychological, sexual, economicbecause in most cases of violence against women politicians there is no recognising where the act of violence came from and by whom, because perpetrators disguise their acts (Bardall 2020, p. 382). ...
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This research explores the rise of fourth-wave feminism in the Australian Parliament. Currently, there is more than a 50 percent presence of women Senators who hold parliamentary seats – 39 seats held by women and 37 seats held by men should manifest as equal power. The purpose of this study is to investigate the first speeches (formerly called maiden speeches) of the 46th Parliament’s Australian female Senators. This research questions if women Senators’ first speeches are indicative of their free thinking, or their compliance with the dominant framework. Applying Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) method to first speeches of the current female Senators, and drawing on third-wave and fourth-wave feminist theories, the key findings reveal that women Senators’ first speeches do not appear to be gendered. Their top ten words are gender neutral and equally could have been extracted from the current men’s first speeches. Whilst some female Senators utilised the power of their first speeches to push feminist agendas, this research found that most women appeared to feel safer conforming to the patriarchal system and delivering gender-neutral first speeches was a result of their party identification.
... Puede ser dirigida a las mujeres como colectivo o afectarlas de manera individual, puede ser física (diversas formas de agresiones físicas y sexuales), no física (distintas afectaciones sociopsicológicas o económicas) y simbólica (Bardall 2018). Con frecuencia, toma forma de "actos inconscientes -de comisiones y omisiones-que sostienen y nutren las desigualdades estructurales presentes en la vida cotidiana y en las actitudes de las personas" (Bardall 2020, 384), que han sido normalizados durante mucho tiempo y que con frecuencia son 48 Elecciones 20 (21), 2021 considerados como válidos o aceptados por amplios sectores de la sociedad o, por lo menos, cuentan con la silenciosa complicidad de las partes, incluidas las propias víctimas (Bardall 2020). ...
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Las reformas en la materia de violencia política en razón de género adoptadas en abril de 2020 han establecido nuevas obligaciones para los partidos políticos mexicanos. A un año de la reforma, en un contexto de creciente violencia política contra las mujeres, es necesario revisar cuáles son los avances en el cumplimiento de estas obligaciones y cómo los partidos políticos han articulado su compromiso por la erradicación de este fenómeno. El trabajo propone una herramienta para analizar el nivel de cumplimiento con las adecuaciones normativas exigidas por la reforma. A partir de su implementación para la evaluación de las normas internas de los diez partidos políticos mexicanos, el artículo evidencia que solamente tres de ellos logran la armonización de alto nivel (PAN, PRI y RSP), otros tres están en un nivel intermedio (PRD, MC y Morena), mientras que los cuatro restantes (PVEM, PT, PES y FSP) presentan muy bajo nivel de cumplimiento con las exigencias normativas, lo que evidencia poco compromiso con la erradicación y la atención de la violencia política que enfrentan las mujeres.
... Terrorism is a complex concept too, which is a broad sense, is defined as the use of violent acts that induce fear in order to achieve political purposes [33]. Terrorism can also be understood in terms of symbolic violence [34], which is considered "a voluntary submission to legally sanctioned relations of domination that lead to an imbalance of social power" [35]. Thus, due to its complexity, terrorism is a concept that was approached from various perspectives over time, but the diversity of these perspectives created chaos around understanding the concept. ...
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In the era of speed and technology, mass media has an important role in keeping people informed about events happening all around the world, but also in shaping their opinion. One of the main issues that mass-media focuses on is represented by terrorist propaganda. Nowadays, terrorist attacks have become more frequent, and we argue that, due to their social and emotional intelligence, terrorists have the power to manipulate not only people but also mass media. The purpose of our paper was to assess the way Romanian and foreign online mass-media channels present information about Islamic terrorist groups and the activities developed by them, in order to raise awareness about the matter of propaganda and the role of mass media in promoting it. In order to conduct the research, content analysis was used as a method. A total of 36 news presented online by Romanian and foreign mass-media channels were analyzed. The result of the research revealed that Romanian mass-media channels focus more on using words with aggressive content, and that foreign mass-media channels focus on religious and cultural-geographic content. Therefore, the results of the research revealed that the way mass media presents terrorist attacks can unintentionally contribute to the promotion of terrorist propaganda.
... La incorporación de la perspectiva de género en el análisis de la violencia política abrió un importante número de nuevos problemas de investigación y contribuyó a una comprensión más profunda de este fenómeno. La literatura sobre el tema ha evolucionado a lo largo de las décadas para pasar del estudio de las mujeres como víctimas de violencia en sus diversos contextos y ámbitos, incluir cuestiones de la agencia de las mujeres, su participación en los procesos de paz y, más recientemente, del fenómeno de violencia política dirigida a las mujeres candidatas, militantes partidistas o políticas (Krook, 2020;Bardall et al., 2019;Bardall, 2018). ...
... For all these reasons, we could say that there is a gendered pattern in how people psychologically and emotionally deal the COVID-19 crisis. As it stated the literature, certain individuals and groups can be victims of particular situations where structural [Estrada-Tanck, 2017] and symbolic violence [Bardall, 2020;Galarza Fernández, Cobo Bedía and Esquembre Cerdá, 2016] occur. Women are more frequently victims of this kind of violence and often have to face situations of stigma within their own society in terms of the tasks they are expected to carry out (caregivers and housekeepers) and the social roles they are supposed to assume and perform [Fernández et al., 2014]. ...
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During global health crises, the mass media plays a key role in the construction of risk society. This paper analyses people's perception during the confinement in Spain regarding the role of mass media and its relationship with psychological responses and attitudes towards social control. Results from the survey (n=704) suggest that certain groups have been more affected by the messages distributed by the media, rendering them more vulnerable to suffering from negative psychological responses. The mass media interferes with the manner in which people psychologically deal with this crisis and the behaviour that results from their perception of risk.
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Central American migrants transiting through Mexico to reach the United States are subjected to abductions, rape, and enforced disappearances. From October 2018 Central American migrants began to move in large groups known as migrant caravans to defend themselves against harassment by the authorities and the aggressions of organized crime. Unlike the traditional subreptitious migration model, the caravan migration model is bustling, visible, collective, and is imbued with a denunciation character. However, violence scenarios also emerged inside the caravans. The purpose of this article is to examine the forms of violence suffered by Central American migrants who joined the caravans. This research is based on a qualitative methodological approach. The technique used for collecting discursive material was the in-depth interview. From July 2019 to February 2020, 24 Central American migrants (9 males and 15 women) were interviewed in four geographical areas of Mexico: Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Mexico City, and Puebla. We selected adults who joined one of the caravans formed during October and November of 2018 but abandoned the caravans to migrate alone due to scenarios of violence occurring inside the caravans. The results show that women suffered the most violent situations. Women complained about everyday violence originating from interactions with the other actors in the social field of migration. Many women were victims of routine practices and expressions of interpersonal aggressions initiated by their male peers. To escape from everyday violence interviewed women decided to abandon the security of advancing as a group to emigrate alone. On the other hand, interviewed men left the caravans because they somatized a vision and division of the world that defined them as guilty and not deserving.
Technical Report
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Elections were devolved to Wales through the Government of Wales Act 2017. Since then, Welsh Ministers have embarked on a programme of electoral reform most noted by the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020 and the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021. These extended the franchise to 16- and 17-year-olds and qualifying foreign citizens for Senedd and local government elections, and provided the legislative framework for future electoral reform, particularly around automatic registration and the optional use of a different electoral system (Single Transferable Voting) at local government elections. In line with an ongoing agenda to ensure that elections in Wales are as accessible as possible, the Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) was asked to conduct research on the following four topics to ensure any future legislative developments are informed by robust evidence: 1. Early voting 2. Innovative electoral practices 3. Candidate and agent safety 4. Campaign finances and spending Changes to electoral administration have the potential to be as impactful as changes to the electoral system on issues such as voter inclusivity, turnout, and concerns about the reliability of electoral processes. This report draws on international evidence (including academic and grey literature) to consider how elections could be effectively reformed in Wales. Over 300 individual pieces of research were analysed.
This chapter addresses the theoretical and conceptual discussion on political representation and its vital role in the functioning of democracies. The central objective is to present the theoretical, conceptual, and methodological toolbox for studying women’s political representation, its four dimensions, and their relationships. With these elements, we work to fill the existing gap in contemporary comparative empirical research on whether more female representatives in Mexican states’ Congresses succeed in feminizing politics and transforming gender inequalities to build parity democracies with substantive equality.KeywordsWomen’s political representationFeminization of politicsFormal political representationGender inequalitiesCitizenshipGender-friendly coalition
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Violence against women in politics is increasingly recognized around the world as a significant barrier to women’s political participation, following a troubling rise in reports of assault, intimidation, and abuse directed at female politicians. Yet conceptual ambiguities remain as to the exact contours of this phenomenon. In this article, we seek to strengthen its theoretical, empirical, and methodological foundations. We propose that the presence of bias against women in political roles—originating in structural violence, employing cultural violence, and resulting in symbolic violence—distinguishes this phenomenon from other forms of political violence. We identify five types of violence against women in politics—physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and semiotic—and three methodological challenges related to underreporting, comparing men’s and women’s experiences, and intersectionality. Inspired by the literature on hate crimes, we develop an empirical approach for identifying cases of violence against women in politics, offering six criteria to ascertain whether an attack was potentially motivated by gender bias. We apply this framework to analyze three cases: the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, and the murder of Jo Cox. We conclude with the negative implications of violence against women in politics and point to emerging solutions around the globe.
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Female politicians in Latin America experience myriad forms of gender-based abuse, from physical attacks to degrading sexual commentaries. Activists have framed this problem as violence against women in politics (VAWIP), an emphasis on women's political and electoral rights that reflects the political opportunity structure. In Latin America, broken criminal justice systems foment impunity, normalizing actors' use of violence to maintain political and patriarchal power. Citizens' rights to physical and emotional security are not protected by law enforcement, but women's rights to elect and be elected have received substantive protections from electoral institutions and electoral courts. Consequently, framing VAWIP as an electoral crime represents an astute activist strategy-but one that researchers cannot adopt without losing explanatory power. From an academic standpoint, VAWIP overlooks how widespread impunity results in the routinization of violence throughout state and society, leading to policy solutions narrowly tailored to punish political parties and protect elite women. Such reforms do little to address the underlying absence of the rule of law.
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The phenomenon of violence against women in politics is gaining growing and urgent attention from actors around the globe. Piscopo (2016) criticizes emerging theories and strategies to theorize and combat this problem, arguing that scholars have accepted activist definitions at face value, violence against women in politics is simply a subcategory of violence in politics more generally, weak state capacity and criminal justice systems-the result of incomplete democratic consolidation-explain this phenomenon, these acts of violence do not only violate women's political rights but also other laws, legislation is insufficient given widespread impunity for criminal offenses, and further state actors and policies should be activated to tackle this issue. In response, we argue that nas cent academic studies do bring new tools to bear on definitions of this phenomenon. We maintain that violence against women in politics is distinct from violence in politics, seeking to prevent women's participation as women. Worryingly, this problem is present in all regions of the world, not just Latin America, although context may influence the content and prevalence of different categories of violent acts. This violence is more than a criminal issue, posing a serious challenge to democracy, human rights, and gender equality-such that even ineffective laws can play an important normative role in validating these acts as a "problem". Solutions, finally, should not only be pursued by the state, but instead engage a host of different actors. Although debates continue, we conclude that scholars and activists should not abandon the concept of violence against women in politics, but rather, should work together to bring this problem into focus and ensure that men and women are able to participate in politics equally without fear of violence.
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Reports of physical attacks, intimidation, and harassment aimed at female politicians, activists, and voters have grown as women have become more politically engaged around the world. Often dismissed as the “cost of doing politics,” such acts pose a serious threat to democracy and raise questions about the progress that has been made globally toward incorporating women as full political actors. Drawing on a diverse range of quantitative and qualitative data, as well as academic research on gendered and political violence, this essay maps the contours of this phenomenon and proposes emerging solutions. Abstract
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Violence against women in politics is increasingly recognized around the world but especially in Latin America as an emerging tactic to deter women's political participation. We survey how this concept has been defined by academics and practitioners across the region largely in terms of physical and psychological violence and draw on global data and research in various disciplines to propose expanding this concept to include two further forms of violence: economic and symbolic. We provide examples of all four types of violence in Latin American countries and then consider a range of solutions that might be pursued in light of this broader definition. We emphasize that a comprehensive approach provides the best means for tackling violence in all its forms.
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The rising influence of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) has paralleled the rapid development of women’s political participation worldwide. For women entering political life or holding public positions, new ICTs are frequently used as tools of gender-specific electoral and political violence. There is evidence of ICTs being used to perpetrate a broad range of violent acts against women during elections, especially acts inflicting fear and psychological harm. Specific characteristics of ICTs are particularly adapted to misuse in this manner. Despite these significant challenges, ICTs also offer groundbreaking solutions for preventing and mitigating violence against women in elections (VAWE). Notably, ICTs combat VAWE through monitoring and documenting violence, via education and awareness-raising platforms and through empowerment and advocacy initiatives.
Outline of a Theory of Practice is recognized as a major theoretical text on the foundations of anthropology and sociology. Pierre Bourdieu, a distinguished French anthropologist, develops a theory of practice which is simultaneously a critique of the methods and postures of social science and a general account of how human action should be understood. With his central concept of the habitus, the principle which negotiates between objective structures and practices, Bourdieu is able to transcend the dichotomies which have shaped theoretical thinking about the social world. The author draws on his fieldwork in Kabylia (Algeria) to illustrate his theoretical propositions. With detailed study of matrimonial strategies and the role of rite and myth, he analyses the dialectical process of the 'incorporation of structures' and the objectification of habitus, whereby social formations tend to reproduce themselves. A rigorous consistent materialist approach lays the foundations for a theory of symbolic capital and, through analysis of the different modes of domination, a theory of symbolic power.
Chapter 16 provides an overview of semiotic forms of violence against women in politics. These dynamics involve mobilizing semiotic resources—words, images, and even body language—to injure, discipline, and subjugate women. Unlike other forms of violence against women, these acts are less about attacking particular women directly than about shaping public perceptions about the validity of women’s political participation more broadly. Analyzed inductively, women’s experiences in politics suggest two main modes of semiotic violence: rendering women invisible , attempting to “symbolically annihilate” women in the public sphere, and rendering women incompetent , emphasizing “role incongruity” between being a woman and being a leader. Emerging solutions seek to counteract these dynamics by revising or reversing prevailing semiotic frames, forging new semiotic tools to defend women’s right to participate and create a more inclusive public sphere.