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Abstracts, Journal issues, NORMA 6.1

Theorizing practice: Understanding resistance against gender-based violence in Cambodia

Mona Lilja

This article analyses local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Cambodia and their programmes against gender-based violence (GBV), in order to understand what notions of power, agency and resistance that reside within these programmes. What theoretical concepts do we need in order to understand the organizations’ attempts to reduce GBV?

The interviews displayed a number of practices of resistance against GBV. In particular the organizations emphasized the importance of approaching men in the resistance against GBV. In their approach to Cambodian men, the (male) trainers of the organizations used different strategies. Overall, the analysis shows how local organizations try to promote a global (western informed) image of a peaceful, caring man. For example, the Cambodian trainers mixed different kinds of representations in order to negotiate the prevailing masculinity. The men’s argumentations were also deconstructed by the trainers who exposed the multiple meanings and contradictions that dwelled in the men’s claims of a ‘proper’ masculinity. In addition, the organizations attempted to utilize a hegemonic masculinity in negotiating local violent masculinities. In the nexus between different masculinities, the hegemonic masculinity composes a norm, creating a disciplinary process where individual men are ‘forced’ to adapt to the practices and characteristics of this masculinity.

Keywords
Gender, masculinity, gender-based violence, resistance, Cambodia

NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies 6(1), 82-92.

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