Becoming (non)violent : accountability, subjectivity and ethical non-violence in response to intimate partner violence : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology at Massey University, Manawatū, Aotearoa New Zealand

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Massey University
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This thesis joins a movement of critical resistance and ethical activism problematising the increased institutionalisation of domestic violence interventions. A Eurocentric, capitalist, and neoliberal knowledge economy appears incapable of accounting for or accommodating the multiple, intersecting gendered social power relations and conditions of possibility that enable violence against women and children. Through a process of reflexive reading, I draw on the work of philosopher and feminist theorist Judith Butler, engaging with theories of accounting for oneself, subjectivation and ethical non-violence to analyse men and women’s narratives of (non)violence in the context of a men’s stopping violence programme. I interrogate the sociocultural regimes of intelligibility, subjectivity and morality that produce the accountability of gendered subjects of violence at sites of ethical exchange, and the consequences of such a production for those affected by, and responding to, domestic violence. Throughout the thesis, I question how systems of response and intervention reproduce power relations of domination and oppression through the production of fixed and inflexible identity categories of difference and dis-ease for targeted surveillance, regulation and discipline. Accounts of oneself are read critically as sites of embodied and embedded violence, where demands for narrative consistency and coherence enable the denial, minimisation and justification of men’s violence as a response to the risk of condemnation and subjective threat. I examine how patriarchal and colonising narratives tolerate, justify and encourage violence as a reiterative practice of hegemonic masculinity, where the embedded masculine subject self-regulates and disciplines their embodied subjectivity for authority and control within hierarchical gender binaries. I consider how feminine subjects are positioned as inferior to, or a ‘lack of’ the masculine ideal, enabling the dehumanisation, exclusion and silencing of women as objects and technologies for masculine privilege and domination. I conclude by advocating for ethical non-violence in domestic violence research and response, acknowledging our shared subordination and vulnerability to sociocultural regulatory regimes. I imagine how suspending the satisfaction of judgement and practices of patience can facilitate processes of articulation to exceed the constraints of violent subjectivities and engage in processes of ‘becoming’ within collaborative partnerships of resistance, transformation and non- violence.
Family violence, Prevention, Violent offenders, Abused wives, Attitudes, New Zealand, Narrative inquiry (Research method), Moral and ethical aspects