Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Discipline or Domestic Violence: Distinctions in discourse about interpersonal violence

Discipline or Domestic Violence: Distinctions in discourse about interpersonal violence  

Maria Schell 

United States federal law defines domestic violence as a criminal act, (Title IV of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, 1994). However, despite the legal prohibition, some Americans frame interpersonal violence as legitimate physical discipline. This research examined written discourse to explore the construction of interpersonal violence as discipline rather than abuse, the cultural messages that contribute to this distinction, and whether the distinction interferes with help seeking behaviors of victims of domestic violence. This study employed critical discourse analysis of content from two websites, Christian Domestic Discipline and The Experience Project, to identify themes of male dominance and to uncover instances of interpersonal violence being framed as discipline. The analysis shed light on differing attitudes about consent and the nature of interpersonal relationships. It also exposed the frequent use of male dominance as justification for domestic violence, despite federal statutes prohibiting such violence. Survivor narratives indicated at least temporary acceptance of the male dominance paradigm and the construction of interpersonal violence as discipline, which delayed their decision to seek out domestic violence services.

April 6, 2017 - Posted by | abstract

1 Comment »

  1. Have you looked into incorporating a Human Rights perspective to your paper? It might help round out a broader Western view of the issue you disseminate in your discussion.

    Comment by Colleen L | April 16, 2017 | Reply

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