Why Don't You Just Talk to Him?: The Politics of Domestic Abuse by Kathleen R. ArnoldWhy Don't You Just Talk to Him?: The Politics of Domestic Abuse by Kathleen R. Arnold

Why Don't You Just Talk to Him?: The Politics of Domestic Abuse

byKathleen R. Arnold

Hardcover | September 15, 2015

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Why Don't You Just Talk to Him? looks at the broad political contexts in which violence, specifically domestic violence, occurs. Kathleen Arnold argues that liberal and Enlightenment notions of the social contract, rationality and egalitarianism -- the ideas that constitute norms of goodcitizenship -- have an inextricable relationship to violence. According to this dynamic, targets of abuse are not rational, make bad choices, are unable to negotiate with their abusers, or otherwise violate norms of the social contract; they are, thus, second-class citizens. In fact, as Arnoldshows, drawing from Nietzsche and Foucault's theories of power and arguing against much of the standard policy literature on domestic violence, the very mechanisms that purportedly help targets of domestic abuse actually work to compound the problem by exacerbating (or ignoring) the powerdifferences between the abuser and the abused. The book argues that a key to understanding how to prevent domestic violence is seeing it as a political rather than a personal issue, with political consequences. It seeks to challenge Enlightenment ideas about intimacy that conceive of personalrelationships as mutual, equal and contractual. Put another way, it challenges policy ideas that suggest that targets of abuse can simply choose to leave abusive relationships without other personal or economic consequences, or that there is a clear and consistent level of help once they make thechoice to leave. Asking "Why Don't You Just Talk to Him?" is in reality a suggestion rife with contradictions and false choices. Arnold further explores these issues by looking at two key asylum cases that highlight contradictions within the government's treatment of foreigners and that of long-term residents. Thesecases expose problematic assumptions in the approach to domestic violence more generally. Exposing major injustices from the point of view of domestic violence targets, this book promises to generate further debate, if not consensus.

About The Author

Kathleen R. Arnold is Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at DePaul University.

Details & Specs

Title:Why Don't You Just Talk to Him?: The Politics of Domestic AbuseFormat:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 1.1 inPublished:September 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190262281

ISBN - 13:9780190262280

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Don't You Just Talk to Him? The Politics of Domestic Abuse1. The Politics of Abuse and Realism2. The Context of the Problem3. Domestic Abuse and the Limits of Communication (Foucault, Habermas and Beyond)4. The Enlightenment and Violence5. ConclusionAcknowledgmentsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"In her new book Kathleen Arnold reveals deep contradictions in America's approach to domestic abuse. These contradictions strip abused women of their effective rights to self-defense and unfettered movement-two preconditions of democratic liberty. Arnold deftly maps our collective blind spotson this topic. Moreover, the insights she offers are important for creating new responses to domestic abuse that would be more in keeping with our cherished political ideals of justice and equality." --Edwina Barvosa, University of California, Santa Barbara