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Against me(n): accounting for oneself as a male victim of intimate partner abuse in a discrediting context

Kestell, Barry (2019) Against me(n): accounting for oneself as a male victim of intimate partner abuse in a discrediting context. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

Men who experience intimate partner abuse have been described as ‘marginalised’ (Migliaccio, 2001), ‘unbelievable’ (Corbally, 2011) and ‘unmanly’ (Morgan and Wells, 2016). Men’s experience of intimate partner abuse has increasingly received attention in recent years but, while it is recognised that men can be the victims of intimate partner abuse, men often report that their accounts of abuse are met with disbelief (Hines et al, 2007). This study examined both the verbal and written accounts of male victims of intimate partner abuse to identify how they account for the abuse that they have experienced, in this context. There is a paucity of research examining the accounts of men who have experienced intimate partner abuse and this study should go some way toward filling this gap in the literature. 9 narrative interviews were carried out with male self-identified victims of intimate partner abuse. Further, 64 written accounts from male victims of intimate partner abuse were collected. A theoretical perspective informed by the work of Judith Butler (1993; 1999) was adopted and Riessman’s (2008) dialogic narrative analytic technique was deployed to guide the analysis of these narratives. As a result of this analysis it was found that (1) there are a variety of lives that may be lived, and told, by men experiencing intimate partner abuse. (2) The participants were performatively produced as male victims of IPA (Butler, 1999), through the deployment of narrative resources that positioned them within dominant discourses of masculinity and positioned their abusive female partners as deviating from acceptable femininity. (3) There was limited language available to the men to talk about abuse, with similar norms of gendered behaviour cited across the sample. (4) The narratives highlighted the variety of IPA experienced by the men, ranging from severe violence to more subtle but all-encompassing control. Finally, (5) the written and spoken narratives were similar in terms of their content, as they both deployed the same narrative resources, despite differing markedly in terms of length. These cases illustrate the impact of the constitution of IPA against men as ‘unbelievable’ (Corbally, 2011) and ‘unmanly’ (Morgan and Wells, 2016), leading to a situation wherein there are limited narrative resources available to the men through which they may be rendered recognisable as victims of IPA. Identifying these narrative resources may offer ways to talk about intimate partner abuse with men, but the nature of these narrative resources comes with the danger of the perpetuation of gendered norms which deny women’s agency. It is hoped that this study prompts further consideration of men’s ways of accounting for IPA.
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:March 2019
Supervisor(s):Corbally, Melissa and Philbin, Mark
Uncontrolled Keywords:Narrative; Masculinity; Intimate Partner Abuse; Intimate Partner Violence; Domestic Violence; Domestic Abuse
Subjects:Social Sciences > Sociology
Social Sciences > Gender
Social Sciences > Identity
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science and Health > School of Nursing and Human Sciences
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:22892
Deposited On:03 Apr 2019 11:18 by Melissa Corbally . Last Modified 03 Apr 2019 11:18

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