Domestic violence policies in the Netherlands: A regime of deficiency
SourceAnthropological Theory, (2020)
08 oktober 2020
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
In a number of countries, domestic violence is represented as a governable phenomenon that is amenable to policy interventions. Over the past 40 years in the Netherlands, however, this approach has not resulted in a reduction of domestic violence. Yet new policy strategies continue to be designed to improve existing interventions. In this article, we focus on a Dutch policy measure that aims to detect early signals of violence and abuse. We argue that this strategy, by approaching domestic violence as a technical problem, fails to take into account structural and symbolic violence. As a consequence, the impact of domestic violence policies on women, particularly poor women, and especially women with a migration background, is to intensify their difficulties. Moreover, these policies deploy a technology that shapes the subjectivity of professionals engaged in protection practices, while maintaining the status quo of inequality and violence against women. The connection between these two flaws of domestic violence policies leads us to claim that the current approach is constituted as a regime of deficiency.
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