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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Queensland University of Technology 2202-8005 The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy is an open access, blind peer-reviewed journal that publishes critical research about challenges confronting criminal justice systems around the world.  The Journal is committed to democratising quality knowledge production and dissemination. Authors retain copyright and articles are licenced via Creative Commons to make published articles more readily available and useable. There are no APCs (Article Processing Charges). Authors can submit and publish at no cost.
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 7 4

‘Cowards’ and ‘Scumbags’: Tough Talk and Men’s Violence


This paper explores the ways in which particular forms of violence, namely violence against women and one-punch assaults, are framed in discourses of violence prevention in Australia. In denouncing certain acts, individuals and groups, I show that condemnatory responses—what I refer to here as ‘tough talk’—serve to reinforce, rather than challenge, hierarchical (gendered, raced, classed) difference as normative. Based on assumptions that link violence to particular ‘types’ of men, such approaches overlook the nuance, complexity and contextual meanings of violence. Preventing violence, I argue, requires that we engage with cultures of violence by focusing less on some men’s violence, instead recognising the interconnectedness of gender and other hierarchies of identity as the critical context for violence.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Pages:132 to 147
Section: Articles
0 citation(s) in Scopus
0 citation(s) in Web of Science


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Author Biography

Dr Kate Seymour lectures in the Social Work program at Flinders University in South Australia. Her research profile builds upon her background in direct practice including individual and group work with men who use violence against their female partners. Her specific expertise relates to the mobilization of discourses of gender, masculinities and violence in the policies and practices of violence prevention and intervention. Dr Seymour is a skilled qualitative researcher and has established a growing reputation for her contribution to the critical study of masculinities and men’s violence.