Forhandlinger om verdighet blant kvinner utsatt for partnervold
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAndersen LCA, Stefansen K: Forhandlinger om verdighet blant kvinner utsatt for partnervold. In: Bredal A, Eggebø H, Eriksen AMAE. Vold i nære relasjoner i et mangfoldig Norge, 2020. Cappelen Damm Akademisk p. 67-86 https://doi.org/10.23865/noasp.99
Drawing on qualitative interviews, this chapter explores how women who have lived with an abusive male partner talk about themselves in relation to the violence they have experienced. Rather than portraying themselves as weak and passive and therefore blameless ‘ideal victims’, many of the women we interviewed referred to themselves as remarkably strong or resourceful. We interpret these self-representations as part of an ongoing work on the self that these women were engaged in – to uphold their self-identity and social position as viable persons. The self-representations are part of their ongoing respectability work. What strong or resourceful meant had classed meanings, however. Middle-class women more often referred to their investment in self-developing activities – activities that build on and scaffold their middle-class identity and social standing, for instance engaging in overwork and intensive parenting, or starting or graduating from university studies. In contrast, working-class women more often referred to their psychological robustness, and how it had protected them from mental illness, drug abuse or other problems. They talked about being tough and getting on with it without interference from other people. For both groups their respectability work had both positive and negative sides. It protected the women from stigma, but also made it more difficult for others to see that they needed help and to offer support.