This innovative book aims to further our understanding of violence in intimate relationships between men and women by combining research from psychology, cultural studies, and biology. The author examines why western culture often justifies and encourages primitive forms of relationships based on domination and submission and considers not only the cultural influences, but also the biological aspects, in their interaction.
The book clarifies the biological roots of aggression and affection in intimate relationships in humans, showing that considering the biological roots of male dominance on women does not imply any justification. Bonino makes the case that awareness about the biological roots of violence, and about the cultural messages supporting them, is necessary for developing different messages and educational practices promoting human capacity of personal affective relationship, where partners empathically recognize themselves as equal human beings. Relationships are examined in relation to a domination/submission framework, with the author emphasizing the role individuals can play in promoting non-aggressive relationships.
By examining aggressive behaviour in relation to cultural, social psychological, and biological ideas, the author seeks to clarify the cause of violence in relation to gendered roles. This is fascinating reading for anyone interested in violence in relationships and suitable for students and academics in psychology and the social sciences.
Table of Contents
1. Neither brutes nor angels
2. First sex then love
3. Return to violence and inhumanity
4. Sex as violence
5. In house enemy
Epilogue. Building the future
Silvia Bonino is professor emeritus of developmental psychology at the Department of psychology of the University of Turin (Italy), where she founded the Laboratory of developmental psychology. Her research focuses predominantly on aggressive behavior, positive sociality (empathy, cooperation, altruism) and risk behavior in adolescence.