Session 29

29. Analysing Forms of Violence and their Spatial Forms

The subject of violence confronts us with a range of methodological, theoretical and methodical challenges, which are addressed by various approaches. This session aims at discussing the different problems of how violence can be studied – in regard to its specific context. We propose that violence is not a uniform concept, but can better be grasped by differentiating it into different forms. A central dimension to the form is its spatiality and its contextual embedding. Whereas public or mediatised violence is highly visible, other forms are not directly perceivable by researchers. For the visible forms of violence, methods such as videoanalysis have had a big impact in recent years, mostly focussing on situative events (e.g. studies of street fights, demonstrations or the mediatization of wars). Those methods are often not apt for the hidden or non-situative forms of violence (e.g. domestic violence that happens over longer periods of time behind closed doors), that require a different methodology, therefore interviews are more prevalent. Our session aims at addressing the methodological problems that arise in the study of violence, and at relating the methods to their aptness to specific forms of violence. We especially encourage to discuss that topic through the spatial dimension, that includes e.g. the difference between the public and the private sphere, the role of bodies in space during events of violence. The session also asks if and how specific spatial embeddings allow for regional as local comparability concerning the specific forms. We invite especially papers that address the following questions:

(a) How can not only the prevalence or causality, but also the form and spatio-temporal unfolding of violence be analysed?

(b) Which methods are suitable for studying which forms of violence?

(c) How can the spatial dimension, embeddedness and relationality of violence be addressed?

(d) How does positionality play into the different methodologies of studying violence? Do specific approaches prioritise e.g. the offenders or victims’ perspective?

(e) Is there a gender bias in methods that focus on specific spatial forms?

(f) How do specific methods have impact on the theoretical understanding and definition of what can be perceived as violence?