Commitments and contradictions: linking violence, parenthood and professionalism

Keskinen Suvi

in Tackling men's violence in families

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9781861346032
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303640 | DOI:
Commitments and contradictions: linking violence, parenthood and professionalism

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Whereas in most Western and North European countries the discussion of wife abuse was brought to the public agenda by the feminist movement, the Finnish history of dealing with this question has been different. The feminist movement has been relatively weak in Finland, and the issue discursively constructed in gender-neutral and family-centred terms. A social-service-like approach has been characteristic of the Finnish shelters. During the past decade, a view of wife abuse as a gendered phenomenon has received growing attention. The discursive shift has many connections with social and healthcare bureaucracy and professional services. This background has led to a mixture of professional and feminist influences in the discussion on violence and family relations. This chapter analyses how violence and parenthood are discussed and worked with in Finnish family counselling agencies. It traces the different discursive resources that are drawn upon when these issues are handled, and examines their common points and discrepancies. The combination of professional and feminist influences is essential in the analysis of the agency practices. The chapter is based on an ethnographic study that focused on family counselling professionals' work with violence.

Keywords: family counselling agencies; feminism; domestic violence; wife abuse; family relations; parenthood

Chapter.  7264 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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