Gender and Language, Vol 5, No 2 (2011)

The Strategic Marginalization of Working Class Masculinity in a Batterers' Treatment Programme

Susan Ehrlich, Susan Levesque
Issued Date: 20 Dec 2011


In this paper, we consider how ideologies about heterosexual working class masculinity play a symbolic role for middle-class, educated men in the context of a batterers’ treatment programme. We suggest that the middle class, educated men who are the focus of this paper create identities for themselves by a process of differentiation, in particular, by distancing themselves from the majority of the men in the batterers’ group who supposedly embody a heterosexual working class masculinity. More specifically, we argue that this kind of identity construction is an integral part of the middle-class men’s accounts of their violence: by differentiating themselves from those who they represent as ‘real abusers’ they manage to diminish and minimize their responsibility for their acts of violence against their domestic partners.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.v5i2.271


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