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Prosecuting Domestic ViolenceA Philosophical Analysis$
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Michelle Madden Dempsey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562169

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562169.001.1

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What Counts as Domestic Violence? 1

What Counts as Domestic Violence? 1

(p.103) 6 What Counts as Domestic Violence?1
Prosecuting Domestic Violence

Michelle Madden Dempsey

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the conceptual structure of domestic violence and critiques various influential accounts of domestic violence presently operating in the criminal justice system, academia, and domestic-violence advocacy communities. It begins by presenting a preliminary analysis of domestic violence which distinguishes its three key elements: violence, domesticity, and patriarchy. It then sets forth an explanatory model of domestic violence based upon these elements. This model is put to work in an examination and critique of four principal accounts of domestic violence, each of which reflects the conflicting ways in which the concept of domestic violence is used in the language and methodology of the criminal justice system, academia, and advocacy communities. Finally, the chapter endorses a key conceptual distinction between domestic violence in its strong sense (where domestic violence tends to sustain or perpetuate patriarchy) and domestic violence in its weak sense (where it does not).

Keywords:   domestic violence, domesticity, patriarchy, Michael Johnson, domestic abuse, conflicts tactics scale

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