A Feminist Theory of Violence: A Decolonial Perspective

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by Françoise Vergès, translated by Melissa Thackway

Pluto Press

04/20/2020, paperback

SKU: 9780745345673


The mainstream conversation surrounding gender equality is a repertoire of violence: harassment, rape, abuse, femicide. These words suggest a cruel reality. But they also hide another reality: that of gendered violence committed with the complicity of the State.

In this book, Françoise Vergès denounces the carceral turn in the fight against sexism. By focusing on 'violent men', we fail to question the sources of their violence. There is no doubt as to the underlying causes: racial capitalism, ultra-conservative populism, the crushing of the Global South by wars and imperialist looting, the exile of millions and the proliferation of prisons - these all put masculinity in the service of a policy of death.

Against the spirit of the times, Françoise Vergès refuses the punitive obsession of the State in favor of restorative justice.


"In this robust, decolonial challenge to carceral feminism, Francoise Vergès elucidates why a structural approach to violence is needed. If we wish to understand how racial capitalism is linked to the proliferation of intimate and state violence directed at women and gender-nonconforming people, we need to look no further than Vergès' timely analysis" -- Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz and author of Women, Race, and ClassAre Prisons Obsolete?Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, and Abolition. Feminism. Now.

'Françoise Vergès asks a simple question: what actually is the politics of protection? What she reveals is a paradigm spinning analysis. Once she establishes the perspective of people without power, the 'protection' offered by the state and the meta-state of global capital, is exposed as a killing machine of enforcement and endless punishment. A door opening work' -- Sarah Schulman, author of The Gentrification of the Mind and Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP

About the Contributors:

Françoise Vergès is an activist and public educator. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and is the author of many books including A Decolonial Feminism and Wombs of Women.

Melissa Thackway is an independent researcher and translator. She lectures in African Cinema at Sciences-Po and INALCO in Paris. Her recent translations include Contemporary African Cinema by Olivier Barlet, Tropical Dream Palaces: Cinema-Going in Colonial West Africa by Odile Goerg, and African Diasporic Cinema: Aesthetics of Reconstruction by Daniela Ricci.