"Women too are violent" : Masculinity and Responsibility in Discourses on Men’s Violence
Sammanfattning: Men’s violence against women is a persistent social problem with great individual and societal consequences. Despite governmental measures taken in Sweden to prevent and reduce the prevalence of men’s violence against women, the violence does not appear to decrease. Research questions the efficacy of initiatives aimed at reducing men’s violence against women and suggest that one explanation to why this reduction does not happen is because normative masculinity is used to excuse men’s violence against women and present men as victims of masculinity. In this study, which focuses on men’s violence against women in Sweden, discourse analysis was carried out on a government equality document, on SKL material and on men’s verbal accounts in court cases of gross violation of a woman’s integrity in order to understand if Swedish discourse presents normative masculinity as an excuse for men’s violence against women. The results of discourse analysis of a government equality document and the SKL material revealed that masculinity is presented not so much as the excuse for men’s violence but as thereason for why men are kept from taking responsibility for their violence. The findings showed persistent argumentation for women’s use of violence as well as claims that not all men are violent and that masculinity is an issue that needs to be handled on a societal level. Negative behaviors, due to adhering to normative masculinity, was found to rarely be presented as the responsibility of individual men. Discourse analysis of men’s verbal accounts in cases of gross violation of a woman’s integrity showed that several categories and patterns emerged from these accounts in regards to how masculinity was verbalized and used as a possible excuse for why violence had occurred. Men’s own verbal accounts did not mention masculinity explicitly but presented excuses for the violence which previous research has found to relate to normative masculinity.
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