Representations of Women Subjected to Violence : A Critical Discourse Analysis of Study Guides in Social Work


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Publication Details

Author list: Hoppstadius, Helena

Publication year: 2020

Start page: 89

End page: 104

Number of pages: 16

ISSN: 0886-1099

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0886109919872968

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The Swedish government?s efforts to meet the needs of women subjected to violence have intensified since 2007 when it adopted an Action Plan for combating men?s violence against women. The aim of this study was to analyze how women are discursively framed from an intersectional perspective in five of the Action Plan?s study guides. A critical discourse analysis revealed three overall discourses. First, women are divided into various categories, which is likely to lead to an understanding that it is specific groups of women that become victims of violence. Second, women are framed in a heteronormative and a gender-equal context. This neglects nonheterosexual violence and underlines the otherness of ethnically categorized women. Third, the definition of women as agents stresses both their responsibility and their lack of agency. The absence of an intersectional analysis risks an interpretation in social work practice that some social division have a greater impact on violence in some specific groups of women. When women?s individual situation and needs are not taken into account, women risk being given inadequate help and support, which might put victims of violence in danger.


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