There’s been an excellent discussion of sexual harassment over at Leiter. Lots of people have rightly been pointing to a lack of information about what constitutes sexual harassment, and about the nature of legal and institutional procedures. This is all deeply important. However, I think focussing just on these issues is a mistake. In fact, I’ve just finished a paper arguing for this. I won’t try to argue for it in a blog post, but you can read the paper here if you feel like it!
5 thoughts on “Sexual harassment: looking beyond definitions and institutional remedies”
Whew that actually took me an ungodly amount of time to realize the link to the paper was on the right side of the screen, and not among main the list of papers. Hah. If anyone else has the same trouble, it’s under the “Download” section on the right.
Um, sorry… Didn’t realise. (University forces us into that format.)
Thanks so much Jenny! I just read the paper, and found it really helpful.
Thanks for the paper JS.
Would you be less worried about a Croswaithe/Priest project if they had simply chosen a different name for the phenomenon (and thus avoided unhelpful overlap with legalistic sexual harassment)? I ask because it’s not clear to me if the vagueness in the concept is the problem or the baggage (punishment and the like) that comes with dealing with harassment institutionally.
If it’s the former then it’s also not obvious to me that “unwelcoming” won’t run into similar difficulty. One of the benefits of seeking out these kinds of definitions is that they can help provide clear answers (based on rules derived from the clear cases) in situations when our intuitions are varied or are themselves unclear.
I read the essay and while it strikes me that the author has studied up on the subject, I still get the sense that she’s dabbling in an area she otherwise has little or no training in. Thus she relies on her personal experience and the stories of others to buttress her claims. If she worked as an attorney representing sexual harassment victims or in an HR department dealing with sexual harassment cases on a regular basis, then she would have more credibility.
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