The Rise and Rise of Sexual Violence

In this article published in 2018 in Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, Joanna Bourke reviews and examines key shortcomings in Steven Pinker’s work from 2011, The Better Angels of our Nature. A History of Violence and Humanity. Bourke focuses in particular on Pinker’s argument in relation to sexual violence and argues that violent practices, technologies, and symbols increasingly permeate our everyday lives, contrary to Pinker’s assertions. She suggests that his approach is flawed and draws attention to five problematic elements driving his argument: he selectively chooses his data; minimises certain harms; adopts an evolutionary psychology approach; ignores new forms of aggression; and fails to acknowledge the political underpinnings of his research.


Joanna Bourke
‘The Rise and Rise of Sexual Violence’
Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, 44.1 (Spring 2018), pp. 104-116.