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This article has been peer-reviewed. It is the author's final published version in Social Science & Medicine, Volume 245, January 2020, Article number 112688,

The published version is available at Copyright © Casper & O'Donnell.


This essay uses gender as a category of historical and sociological analysis to situate two populations-boxers and victims of domestic violence-in context and explain the temporal and ontological discrepancies between them as potential brain injury patients. In boxing, the question of brain injury and its sequelae were analyzed from 1928 on, often on profoundly somatic grounds. With domestic violence, in contrast, the question of brain injury and its sequelae appear to have been first examined only after 1990. Symptoms prior to that period were often cast as functional in specific psychiatric and psychological nomenclatures. We examine this chronological and epistemological disconnection between forms of violence that appear otherwise highly similar even if existing in profoundly different spaces.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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