Deconstructing domestic violence policy
The primary objectives of this thesis are to, circularly, deconstruct contemporary domestic violence policy while developing and evaluating methods for deconstructing policy. Policy is theorised as a discursive practice, which allows a variety of policies to be compared and critiqued by how they position the people they affect. These are known as subject positions, or subjectivities, and throughout this thesis I attempt to critique policy by examining the (re)construction of subjectivity. In addition, because policy is not theorised as functioning through direct causal relations there is an opening for psychoanalytic subjectivities where the subject positioning occurs at the level of the unconscious. Consequently, I have chosen to draw upon Parker's critical transformative psychoanalytic discourse analysis (CTPDA) as a psycho-discursive method where discourse analysis and psychoanalysis are combined in such as way that psychoanalysisis understood to be a culturally produced theory of self. Three separate analyses of two key, contemporary domestic violence policies demonstrate the utility of CTPDA by developing it as a method alongside the topic under consideration the use of 'family' to name concern of policy is considered in Te Rito from Aotearoa/New Zealand (A/NZ), who are world leaders in the domain of domestic violence, and 'consultation' where decisions have already been made and gender through the gender-neutral term 'domestic violence' are considered in Safety and Justice (S&J) from the UK, where much of this thesis was undertaken. In the final chapter, I argue that critique needs to be able to imagine its own policies and ways of realising them and highlight that psychoanalysis has the potential to offer an effective approach.
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