Category Work in Courtroom Talk About Domestic Violence: Gender as an Interactional Acomplishment in Child Custody Disputes
2014 (English)In: Feminism and Psychology, ISSN 0959-3535, E-ISSN 1461-7161, Vol. 24, no 1, 115-135 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article examines how domestic violence and its effects on post-separation family life are dealt with within child custody disputes. Drawing on membership categorization analysis, audio-recorded courtroom testimonies from abused mothers seeking sole custody have been analysed. It was found that gendered categories like ‘male perpetrator’ and ‘female victim’ were central components in the mothers’ accounts of their legal claims, serving to support their claims of fearing the fathers of their children. However, the analyses also reveal that the opposing party attempted to contest and undermine such accounts during cross-examinations by substituting the very same categorizations. Such re-categorizations, for example from ‘female victim’ to ‘mad woman’, take the responsibility for the mother’s alleged fear away from the father. In exploring the relevance of gendered categories in mothers’ accounts, the article provides empirical examples of the subtle and complex ways through which gender discourses are manifested in child custody disputes in order to support or contest legal claims.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 24, no 1, 115-135 p.
membership categorization analysis, category-based accounts, gendered categories, domestic violence, child custody disputes, courtroom interaction
Research subject Child and Youth Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97537DOI: 10.1177/0959353513515294ISI: 000330772500007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-97537DiVA: diva2:678943
ProjectsVittnesmål i vårdnadstvister - förhandlingar om barnets bästa i domstol och familjerätt
FunderForte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2010-0335