A Feminist Critique of Domestic Violence Theories

Christina DeJong, Michigan State University
Amanda K. Burgess-Proctor, Michigan State University

An investigation of the domestic violence literature reveals two fairly distinct theoretical camps: feminist researchers, who conduct primarily qualitative analyses that reveal pervasive male-perpetrated partner violence, and "family violence" researcjers, who conduct primarily quantitative analyses that reveal typically mild, mutually-perpetrated partner violence. In response to this dichotomy, Johnson (1995) suggested the existence of two forms of domestic violence: Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence. In the current analysis, the authors evaluate Johnson's theory as well as other domestic violence theories using a feminist theoretical perspective. Specifically, the authors will evaluate the importance of making distinctions between types of domestic violence, and will provide a discussion of the utility of these various theories in explaining violence among same-sex intimate partners.

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Updated 05/20/2006