Comparing conflict-related sexual violence: expertise, politics and documentation

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This paper explores how we know what we know about sexual violence and to highlight the role that comparison, across contexts and between different kinds of knowledge, plays in shaping what we know. It highlights the role of strategic knowledge in facilitating the creation of thematic areas of international expertise, such as that about sexual violence in conflict. The paper draws attention to the role that quantitative evidence and narrative testimony evidence have played in this field of knowledge and the social life of data in which quantitative and qualitative forms of evidence are enmeshed. Throughout, the paper addresses the role that comparison plays in producing both quantitative and qualitative data separated from meaningful context and analysis of the politics of sexual violence in conflict. It considers the functional similarities between the ways data is deployed to support campaigning and advocacy and calls for further research into the social life of the field of expertise around conflict-related sexual violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-488
Number of pages20
JournalCivil Wars
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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