HomePhilippine Journal of Psychologyvol. 40 no. 2 (2007)

Framing Intimate Violence in a Relational Context: Positioning Theory As an Alternative to Psychological and Feminist Discourses

Mira Alexis P. Ofreneo | Cristina J. Montiel

Discipline: Psychology, Feminism



The literature on domestic violence can be categorized into two major discourses, the psychological and the sociological. Psychological discourses focus on individual pathology, personality, and learning history; whereas the feminist sociological discourse centers on gender inequality. In this theoretical paper, these dominant discourses arc critiqued as discounting the influence of the relationship context. An alternative discourse that frames intimate violence as part of a relational process is proposed. Using positioning theory, intimate violence is framed as a product of the assignment of rights and duties that arises in couple's conversations. The conceptual and methodological assumptions of using positioning in research arediscussed, with an illustrative example of how to do positioning analysis of a couple's social interaction that resulted in violence.