Cover for COUNTS: To Have and To Hit: Cultural Perspectives on Wife Beating

To Have and To Hit

Cultural Perspectives on Wife Beating

This vitally important volume places the problem of wife beating in a broad cultural context in a search for strategies to reform societies, including our own, that are prone to this pernicious form of violence. Based on first hand ethnographic data on more than a dozen societies, including a number in Oceania, this collection explores the social and cultural factors that work either to inhibit or to promote domestic violence against women. The volume also includes a study of abuse among nonhuman primates and a cross-cultural analysis of the legal aspects of wife beating. By presenting counterexamples from other cultures, contributors challenge Western assumptions about the factors leading to wife beating. Through a close examination of societies where wife beating is infrequent or absent, To Have and To Hit identifies the factors—economic, social, political, and cultural—that must be explored and transformed in order to combat this violence and eventually eliminate it.

"It is imperative that these ethnographic accounts of violence against women be added to the literature, as they allow us to view this pervasive phenomenon from broader political, social, and economic perspectives." — Lori Kondora, Feminist Collections

"This is an excellent, long overdue book . . . that should be in all psychologists' libraries, to remind them to examine how the social context that produces violence against women affects both men and women."—Catherine Hodge McCoid, American Anthropologist

"Well-written and easy to read, with many case studies and field examples interspersed with theoretical perspectives to provide an insightful view for the reader of the occurrence of wife-beating. . . . Perhaps, what is most interesting and invaluable about this text is the melding of different disciplines to produce a more comprehensive view of the phenomenon of wife beating. . . . A well-rounded, multi-disciplinary view of a disturbing social problem." -- Jameson K. Hirsch, Women and Health

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