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NCJ Number: 220188 Find in a Library
Title: Language and Violence: Analysis of Four Discursive Operations
Journal: Journal of Family Violence  Volume:22  Issue:7  Dated:October 2007  Pages:511-522
Author(s): Linda Coates; Allan Wade
Date Published: October 2007
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4, Canada
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the content and intent of five postincident descriptions of violent interactions between individuals and/or groups, in order to check for the following factors in the descriptions: an effort to conceal the violence, hide or diminish the perpetrators' responsibility, conceal victims' resistance, and blame or negatively label the victim.
Abstract: The study found that the examined accounts of violence, although representing diverse perspectives of those giving the account and representing different forms of violence, still contained the aforementioned "four-discursive-operations." All five accounts concealed violence by misrepresenting violent acts as mutual rather than unilateral, thereby misrepresenting the nature of social interactions in which perpetrators and victims could be clearly distinguished. Accounts also sought to mitigate the perpetrator's responsibility for the violent behavior by portraying the violence as accidental or unintended rather than premeditated and deliberate. Further, the accounts concealed victims' resistance, i.e., victims' attempts to avoid or find alternatives to the violent encounter. Instead, victims were portrayed as passive or even willing participants in the violence. In addition, accounts focused on those characteristics of victims that could be interpreted as negative, blameworthy, or catalysts for the inevitable triggering of violent behavior by the perpetrator. Based on these findings, the authors argue that these four factors must be addressed in any intervention designed to prevent and/or change violent behaviors. The five accounts of violence were offered by a husband in describing the first time he assaulted his wife; a psychiatrist's description of crimes of sexualized violence against children; a judge's description of the nature and extent of a perpetrator's repeated assaults on his stepson; a politician's prepared statement on the history of colonists' treatment of Aboriginal people; and a therapist's statement about women who have endured sexualized or other forms of violence in childhood. 70 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Attitudes toward victims; Descriptive analysis; Offender attitudes; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public Opinion of Crime; Victims of violent crime; Violence; Voice communications
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