Deconstructing male violence: a qualitative study of male workers and clients on an anti-violence programme

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis analyses the narratives elicited from eleven men the author interviewed using Hollway and Jefferson’s (1997) ‘Narrative Interview Method’. Six of these men were violent men who were getting professional help to ‘change’. The other five were men who worked with violent men to help them change. The primary rationale for analysing these eleven cases was to investigate the extent to which the poststructuralist/psychoanalytic notion of a ‘defended subject’ helps explain why some men are violent to female partners when other men are not. The relative merits of the various sociological and social-psychological approaches to the study of masculinity are tested against these interviewees’ accounts of their lives. The author argues that the notion of a defended subject illuminates a more recognisably contradictory set of experiences of masculinity than other sociological structuralist approaches, as well as enabling one to conceive of a more complex relationship between ‘class inequality’ and ‘destructive behaviour’ than criminologists ordinarily acknowledge. The policy and practice implications of positing a defended psychosocial subject are also dealt with in this thesis. In particular, the author takes issue with the broadly cognitivist assumptions that underpin the government’s current strategy of research and intervention in this field. The philosophical implications of using psychoanalytic ideas to make sense of other people’s lives are discussed in most depth in this thesis’ concluding chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Keele
  • Jefferson, Tony, Supervisor, External person
Publication statusSubmitted - Nov 2000


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