Conventional Wisdom and Its Discontents

Lisa D. Brush

in Poverty, Battered Women, and Work in U.S. Public Policy

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780195398502
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897483 | DOI:

Series: Interpersonal Violence

Conventional Wisdom and Its Discontents

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This chapter provides the intellectual scaffolding for the book. The chapter reviews the explanatory frameworks that together constitute the conventional wisdom about poverty, battering, and the central role of women’s work in addressing them. The hegemonic explanations for poverty and abuse include victim empowerment folklore, criminological expertise and law-and-order logic, the politics of disgust, and work-first common sense. The chapter then presents an alternative approach (drawn from feminist structural challenges to conventional wisdom) that focuses on how women are trapped by poverty and abuse. The chapter concludes the chapter with a critical description of the contradictory dynamics of the institutionalization of conventional wisdom in two key U.S. policies on poverty and battering: the Personal Responsibility Act and the Violence Against Women Act.

Keywords: hegemony; law-and-order; victim empowerment folklore; politics of disgust; work-first; Personal Responsibility Act; Violence Against Women Act

Chapter.  10257 words.  Illustrated.

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