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Title:Governing Domestic Violence: The Power, Practice, and Efficacy of Presumptive Arrest and Prosecution Against the Violent Subjectivities of Intimate Abusers
Author(s):Guzik, Keith W.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Marshall, Anna-Maria
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Criminology and Penology
Abstract:Police departments and state's attorney's offices across the country have adopted presumptive arrest and prosecution policies to handle domestic violence cases. Presumptive arrest requires police officers to make an arrest whenever 'probable cause' exists that intimate partner violence has occurred, while presumptive prosecution commits state's attorney's offices to pursue charges against suspects regardless of victim cooperation. While studies have investigated the value of these measures for victims, few have studied their impact on abusers. This dissertation fills that gap by examining how presumptive arrest and prosecution affect the violent subjectivities of intimate abusers in one Midwestern county. The first part of this research observes policing and court setting practice in order to describe the "micro-physics of power" (Foucault 1977) engaging suspects as they are arrested and prosecuted. It finds that both police officers and court officers rely on a variety of tactics to exercise control over suspects that simultaneously disrupt their relations of violence while reinforcing elements of their violent subjectivities. The second part of the research uses interviews with 30 intimate abusers in order to explore the effects of presumptive policies. This portion of the study identifies mixed outcomes resulting from these policies. Discouragingly, abusers understand their punishments as unjust sanctions motivated by the biases of legal authorities rather than their own abusive behavior. In addition, men continue to evade responsibility for their violence, often depicting themselves as the true victims of abusive intimate relationships. Nevertheless, the punitive aspects of presumptive arrest and prosecution do generate a will within these violent subjects to avoid contact with legal authorities in the future. Significantly, this will is also accompanied by individual projects of self-governance designed to steer the self away from future encounters with the law. These programs of self-governance carry different implications for abusers' careers in intimate abuse. While some evidence deterred batterer subjectivities, others represent plans to simply avoid detection. These findings reinforce calls to reform the criminal justice response to intimate violence through procedurally-just tactics (Tyler 1990) and procedures (Braithwaite 1989) that can go further in having men recognize their responsibility for violence.
Issue Date:2006
Description:300 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3223604
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2006

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