Gendered Negotiations: Interrogating Discourses of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

  • Halimah Deshong

Student thesis: Phd


In this thesis I investigate intimate partner violence (IPV) against women in heterosexual relationships by analysing the accounts of women and men in the Anglophone Caribbean country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Since IPV occurs in the context of a range of abusive practices (Dobash and Dobash 2004) participants' talk on the use and experiences of violent acts, violent threats, as well as other controlling and coercive tactics are examined as part of this study. Analytically, I focus on the points at which discourses of gender converge with narratives of violence. In other words, the current work examines the ways in which participants construct, (re)produce, disturb and/or negotiate gender in their accounts of IPV, and the kinds of power dynamics that are implicated in these verbal performances. I apply a feminist poststructuralist framework to the study of IPV against women. Synthesising feminist theories of gender and power, and poststructuralist insights on language, subjectivity, social processes and institutions, feminist poststructuralism holds that hegemonic discourses of gender are used to subjugate women (Weedon 1997; Gavey 1990). The points at which individuals complicate dominant discursive practices will also be assessed as part of this approach.In-depth interviews conducted with 34 participants - 19 women and 15 men - between 2007 and 2008 are analysed by using a version of discourse analysis (DA) compatible with the feminist poststructuralist framework outlined in the thesis. My analysis begins by highlighting the ways in which narratives of gender inscribe asymmetrical relations of power. The focus then shifts to a comparison of women's and men's accounts on a range of abusive acts. Traditional scripts on gender are often used to police the boundaries of femininities and masculinities, tying these to female and male bodies respectively. This is the context in which control, coercion, violence and violent threats are discussed in these accounts. Understandings of manhood and womanhood also emerge in the analysis of the strategies used to explain violence. I conclude with a summary and discussion of the analysis, and I suggest possible areas for further research on IPV in the Anglophone Caribbean.
Date of Award31 Dec 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJonathan Spencer (Supervisor)


  • intimate partner violence (IPV), gender, feminist poststructuralism, discourse analysis, femininities and masculinities, manhood and womanhood

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