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Networks of violence in the production of young women's trajectories and subjectivities

Kidd, Amanda


Mandy Kidd
Associate Head of Department in Sociology


© 2016 Feminist Review. This paper focuses on the deployment and interdependence of different expressions of gendered and classed violence in shaping the choices, trajectories and subjectivities of young women on vocational beauty therapy courses. It takes as its premise the understanding that, far from simply being an aberrant expression of interpersonal or intergroup aggression, violence is embedded in social life in multiple and complex ways, reverberating through women's lives to reproduce disadvantage and subordination. The paper draws on theoretical and empirical investigations of the interrelationships between structural, direct and symbolic expressions of violence and asks what this literature can offer in challenging normative, often individualised, conceptions of violence. Drawing on an ethnographic case study of National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) beauty therapy courses and the young women undertaking them, I explore the accounts of students and their tutors on becoming and being 'beauty girls'. I consider what these accounts might tell us about how forms of symbolic and interpersonal violence intersect with, reproduce and legitimise the violence involved in unequal and unjust socio-economic structures. I argue that the ways in which different forms of violence mutually reinforce each other at a micro-level produce an embodied 'sense of limits' that ultimately reproduces the structural violence of gendered and classed inequalities. The examples given illustrate both a 'chronology of violence' in young women's lives, and the way in which those lives can be understood, at least in part, as embedded in and shaped by networks of violence. Finally, I briefly consider examples of dissent and resistance, the conditions under which they might be possible and the ways in which, through the interplay of different forms of violence, they might also be curtailed.


Kidd, A. (2016). Networks of violence in the production of young women's trajectories and subjectivities. Feminist Review, 112(1), 41-59.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 14, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 12, 2016
Publication Date Feb 1, 2016
Deposit Date Mar 24, 2016
Journal Feminist Review
Print ISSN 0141-7789
Electronic ISSN 1466-4380
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 112
Issue 1
Pages 41-59
Keywords violence, gender, vocational training, beauty practices
Public URL
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