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Feminists Negotiate the State: The Politics of Domestic Violence

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As feminists demand government action to address gender inequality, they are confronted by the paradox of state power--a state which promises women protection, but protects the interests of men. Using domestic violence against women as a case study, this book examines the trade-offs and compromises faced by feminists in this process of negotiating with the state. Over the As feminists demand government action to address gender inequality, they are confronted by the paradox of state power--a state which promises women protection, but protects the interests of men. Using domestic violence against women as a case study, this book examines the trade-offs and compromises faced by feminists in this process of negotiating with the state. Over the past twenty years, feminists have won critical and significant political victories on the issue of domestic violence, including funding for battered women's shelters, better training for police officers and judges, and legal rights in the courts. Yet the state has failed to address the deeper social and economic sources of domestic violence and in many ways helps to perpetuate the masculine culture of violence which helps to produce it. This book explores feminist engagements with each of the three branches of government, examining the response of the Executive branch (through mandatory police arrest policies), the Judicial branch (through the use of Battered Woman's Syndrome in the courts) and the Legislative branch (through analysis of the Violence Against Women Act) to feminist demands for social change.


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As feminists demand government action to address gender inequality, they are confronted by the paradox of state power--a state which promises women protection, but protects the interests of men. Using domestic violence against women as a case study, this book examines the trade-offs and compromises faced by feminists in this process of negotiating with the state. Over the As feminists demand government action to address gender inequality, they are confronted by the paradox of state power--a state which promises women protection, but protects the interests of men. Using domestic violence against women as a case study, this book examines the trade-offs and compromises faced by feminists in this process of negotiating with the state. Over the past twenty years, feminists have won critical and significant political victories on the issue of domestic violence, including funding for battered women's shelters, better training for police officers and judges, and legal rights in the courts. Yet the state has failed to address the deeper social and economic sources of domestic violence and in many ways helps to perpetuate the masculine culture of violence which helps to produce it. This book explores feminist engagements with each of the three branches of government, examining the response of the Executive branch (through mandatory police arrest policies), the Judicial branch (through the use of Battered Woman's Syndrome in the courts) and the Legislative branch (through analysis of the Violence Against Women Act) to feminist demands for social change.

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