What is the problem? Representations of mens violence against women in a Swedish context


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Publication Details

Author list: Hoppstadius, Helena

Publication year: 2018

Start page: 1684

End page: 1708

Number of pages: 25

ISSN: 2014-3613

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17583/generos.2018.3737


Abuse and violence against women is not only a serious violation of human rights, but is also, according to the Swedish government, the most acute and greatest obstacle to a gender-equal society. The aim of the current study was to investigate discourses that govern social work practice in Sweden. I analysed discourses of violence against women in five Swedish public working guidelines using Carol Bacchi’s social constructivist analytical approach Whats the Problem Represented to Be? Findings show that violence is framed in the guidelines within a heterosexual context and is represented as an individual problem of women within close relations and families. This framing also promotes a division between violence against Swedish-born women and violence against foreign-born women. The analysis also shows that equality seems to be more about the inclusion of men rather than looking after womens situations. How violence against women is understood will affect how violence can be predicted, prevented, and treated, and thus there is a risk that these representations might affect women subjected to violence differently depending on how social workers interpret and apply these guidelines. Findings also suggest that these representations maintain gender hierarchies and other structural and societal inequalities and ignore violence against women as a major global social problem.


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