Narrating violence: feminist dilemmas and approaches

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


How would what we know about violence change if we took narratives seriously? In this chapter, I explore this question by reviewing a growing tradition of feminist narrative research and examining what is feminist about these approaches. I argue that engaging with narratives is not only a methodological choice, but also an ethical posture: a curiosity about knowledge and an orientation towards power. Meaningfully engaging with narratives requires understanding the resistance to these approaches, often stemming from ideas about objectivity and distance in research or perceptions about the role of emotions in research. Narrative research also requires reckoning with power and with the difficult questions of entitlement, agency, and voice in storytelling: Which stories do we tell, and who is allowed to tell them? What categories and hierarchies do we create and disrupt, and how do we imbue them with meaning? How do we, as researchers and writers, locate ourselves within the stories we tell? The implications of this exploration have relevance both for those who seek to embrace a narrative approach and for readers who would like to develop a more intimate relationship with the voices that appear in our research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Gender and Violence
EditorsLaura J. Shepherd
PublisherEdward Elgar
ISBN (Electronic)9781788114691
ISBN (Print)9781788114684
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2019


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