A new feminist materialist analysis of girls and the sexual violence assemblage
Inspired by Deleuze and Guattari’s (1988) concept of ‘assemblage’, this paper addresses young schoolgirls’ (aged 12-13) experience of sexual violence as a materially embedded, relational and affective event that contributes to our understanding of how girls negotiate agency. In this paper, attention is given to sexual violence as an assemblage of materialities in the form of bodies, objects, expressions, spaces, and ideas that connect in ways to affect what girls can and cannot do within a moment in time and place. Drawing on semi-structured interviews, we show how the assemblage not only produces capacities that restrict girls’ potential for agency but within specific conditions, generates capacities to disrupt dominant gendered prescripts that structure girlhood. We argue that while the assemblage produces agentive capacities for girls- it may simultaneously reinforce them. The paper concludes that interventions to address sexual violence and girls’ agency hinges on a relational ontology.
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