The connection between masculinity and domestic violence : what young people think

  • Melanie J McCarry

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This thesis examines young people's views about male violence and specifically domestic violence. There are various theoretical analyses of domestic violence, but it is argued that the feminist analysis has the most to contribute to understandings because only the feminist critique centralises gender and locates it within the power and control framework. The radical feminist analysis, which is applied in this thesis, argues that domestic violence is supported ideologically and structurally through patriarchy and thus, all male violence must be recognised as part of the same phenomenon of an abuse of power and control. The radical feminist approach also argues that male gender behaviour, or `masculinity', as currently socially constructed, is central to male violence. Often the research on masculinity legitimates male gender behaviour and the radical feminist perspective argues that there has to be a critical analysis of masculinity in order not to be complicit in perpetuating the hegemony of masculinity and male gender behaviour. It is thus argued that an understanding of normative masculinity is essential to understanding male violence against women. This study's focus on young people made it necessary to critique the literature on young people and the development of gender roles particularly in relation to masculinity. Recent studies have identified that, despite the recent domestic violence campaigns and interventions, young people have an exceptionally high tolerance and expectation of male violence. In order to explore this, focus group interviews were conductedw ith 77 young peoplei n ten different secondarys choolsi n Glasgow. The primary research aim was to investigate whether young people conceptualise violence as integral to normative masculinity. It is hoped that the findings of this researchp roject may build upon the current understandingso f domesticv iolencea nd may be used to optimise the efficacy of future intervention projects with young people.
Date of Award2004
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorEllen Malos (Supervisor)

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