Families, Violence and Social Change

Families, Violence and Social Change

Families, Violence and Social Change

Families, Violence and Social Change


From one of today's most eminent thinkers--a piercing examination of poverty in the modern ageIf "being poor" once derived its meaning from the condition of being unemployed, today it draws its meaning primarily from the plight of a flawed consumer. This distinction truly makes a difference in the way poverty is experienced and in the chances to redeem its misery. This absorbing book traces this change, and makes an inventory of its social consequences. It also considers ways of fighting back advancing poverty and mitigating its hardships, and tackles the problems of poverty in its present form. The new edition features: Up-to-date coverage of the progress made by key thinkers in the field A discussion of recent work on redundancy, disposability, and exclusion Explorations of new theories of workable solutions to povertyStudents of sociology, politics, and social policy will find this to be an invaluable text on the changing significance and implications of an enduring social problem.


Violence pervades the lives of many people around the world, and
touches all of us in some way. To many people, staying out of harm’s
way is a matter of locking doors and windows and avoiding dangerous
places. To others, escape is not possible. The threat of violence is
behind those doors – well hidden from public view.

(World Health Organization 2002: vii)

This book is primarily concerned with charting and analysing violence that takes place ‘behind closed doors’, as manifested in abuses perpetrated among adults known to each other. I offer a review of empirical, theoretical and policy studies on the interaction of gender, violence and families. As a result of this review I assert that in most post-industrial societies, physical and psychological violence between adults known to each other, through current or previous intimate relationships, continues to be cloaked in opacity. This is especially the case when it comes to addressing the wider social practices and policies that seemingly silence or sanction violence in families.

Despite the prevalence, and implications, of violence among adults in families, major dimensions and consequences of this violence have received limited attention in policy, practice and research. Certainly, many people in gender and women’s studies, and in social and legal services, have worked tirelessly to achieve recognition of this violence, and to develop services. However, much of this work has concentrated upon those who are experiencing or have survived violence. Risk assessment, containment and management have formed a spine in the response of many organizations, governments and agencies to violence among adults in families. All too often the focus is upon the agency of those who are experiencing, or have survived, violence, with the premise that their removal from the . . .

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