Gender and Language, Vol 13, No 2 (2019)

Exceptionalising intersectionality: a corpus study of implied readership in guidance for survivors of domestic abuse

Abigaël Candelas de la Ossa
Issued Date: 31 Jul 2019


Groups who experience multiple marginalisation are more likely to experience domestic abuse, but appear to be the least represented in materials designed to support survivors. This paper uses corpus methods and feminist discourse analysis to examine a guidance text produced by a British organisation that supports women survivors of domestic abuse. The analysis examines the discursive practices used to construct solidarity between the implied reader, implied author and broader imagined community. While many of the practices employed in these texts to construct solidarity are exemplary – such as centring survivors’ experiences and addressing survivors directly by using first- and second-person pronouns – the texts also construct multiply marginalised survivors as distal by using third-person pronouns in discourses which represent multiple marginalisation as ‘exceptional’. The paper concludes by suggesting ways to improve guidance for survivors of domestic abuse.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.35094


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