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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


JANAK, Raksha; BHANA, Deevia  and  GOVENDER, Naresa. A new feminist materialist analysis of girls and the sexual violence assemblage. Journal of Education [online]. 2022, n.89, pp.67-83. ISSN 2520-9868.

Inspired by Deleuze and Guattari's (1988) concept of assemblage, in this paper we address 12-13-y ear-old girls' experience of sexual violence as a materially embedded, relational, and affective event. In doing so, we contribute to the understanding of how girls are both constrained by violent gendered cultures in school and of their capacity to resist such violence. We give attention to sexual violence as an assemblage of materialities in the form of bodies, objects, expressions, spaces, and ideas that connect in ways that affect what girls can and cannot do within a specific place and moment in time. Drawing on semi-structured interviews, we show how the assemblage creates the potential to challenge dominant gendered scripts that structure girls' experience in schools but also point to the disabling environments that curtail such potential. We argue that while the assemblage produces agentive capacities, it may simultaneously constrain them. We conclude by offering possibilities to address sexual violence through addressing gender norms while including boys in gender transformative work.

Keywords : girls; sexual violence; assemblage; new feminist materialism; South Africa.

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