Violence in Families
1. 183-185, to identify and discuss at least 6 key points in the article A Conflict Theory of Violence (pp. 186-207) Total 1 Full page
1. Key 1
2. Key 2
4. Key 4………
2. Using the section Relational and Contextual Theories of Intimate Aggression including Table 13.1 (pp. 316-319), compare and discuss three of the theories listed on Table 13.1 in terms of how these theories explain the phenomenon of intimate aggression. 1 Full Page
For question 2
RELATIONAL AND CONTEXTUAL THEORIES OF INTIMATE AGGRESSION Scholars have used multiple theoretical perspectives to explain intimate aggression, ranging from early notions of female masochism to recent evolutionary explanations of the biological roots of aggression. Although all of these have helped inform our understanding of aggression between romantic partners, we have chosen seven to form the underpinnings of our dialectical integration: social learning theory, social exchange and investmentmodels, family systems theory, relational control and communication models, conflict theory, feminist theory, and life-course theory (see Table 13.1 for a summary of the theories’ major assumptions and a review of theory-related findings related to intimate aggression). Our purpose here is to provide only brief synopses of the major tenets of these theories, particularly those aspects that have most informed work on intimate aggression. We encourage interested readers to visit this volume’s companion Web site (http://www.ncfr.
org/sourcebook) for references to additional literature in which these theories are more fully explicated. Beyond the practical issue of limited space, the question becomes, Why did we choose these theories? More than 25 years ago, Gelles and Straus (1979) drew on 15 theories, ranging from intraindividual to social psychological to sociocultural, to create 45 propositions to explain intimate aggression in the family. Rather than undertaking undertaking such a broad approach, we chose to employ a more focused perspective, emphasizing theories that provide relational (i.e., “the interpersonal dynamics that both surround the use of aggression and characterize the overall relationship between perpetrator and victim”; Lloyd & Emery, 2000b, p. 19) and/or contextual (i.e., the social structures, time periods, and discourses within which intimate aggression is embedded) explanations of interpersonal aggression. This reflects our belief that these levels of explanation are the most helpful for explaining intimate aggression from a dialectical perspective. Specifically, as interpersonal scholars, we view intimate aggression as a socially constructed, relational dynamic enacted by and between partners who are embedded within various familial, social, and institutional systems that both sustain and resist its existence. We chose to focus on theories that emphasize these relational and social contexts because we believe they are poised especially well for a dialectical analysis of intimate aggression. Thus the metatheoretical framework of relational dialectics is paradigmatically aligned with the theories we summarize here. Moreover, it is important to note that these seven theories are interrelated. Rather than forming discrete and disparate perspectives, they have numerous crosscutting themes and connections. For example, the concept of power is integral to feminist, conflict, systems, and relational control theories; interpersonal communication is integral to social learning, relational control, and systems theories; and the larger social context is integral to life-course, feminist, and conflict theories. Table 13.1 Summaries of Theories That Scholars Have Used to Understand Intimate Aggression
Social learning theory -Interpersonal aggression is learned through experience and/or modeling in the family, with peers, in media, in society. The family is viewed as a training ground that provides rewards and punishments that may encourage the use of aggression. Children who witness/receive aggression in the family of origin learn that aggression is appropriate and effective as a way to solve interpersonal conflict, that the use of force is legitimate, and that those who love you hit you. Interpersonal aggression is also related to other negative aspects of the parent-child relationship, including disturbed attachment, poor supervision, and lack of opportunity to learn appropriate problem-solving skills.
Social exchange and investment models -Individuals enter relationships, find them satisfying, and stay committed when they perceive a high ratio of rewards to costs, an equitable balance, a high investment of resources, and few alternatives that would be more rewarding. Although aggression constitutes a severe cost to the relationship, when it is embedded within a relationship that is otherwise high in rewards and/or low in alternatives, the relationship is likely to continue despite the aggression. Women who return to aggressive partners report substantial investments (dependent children, longer duration of the relationship), some satisfaction in and commitment to their relationships, and few alternatives (economic dependence, limited education and labor force experience).
Family systems theory -The family system is understood in terms of processes, patterns, and mutually contingent interaction. The family system is embedded within, and has transactions with, other social systems (e.g., work, school, neighborhood). Dysfunctional interaction patterns may provide the source and momentum for aggression; aggression may be part of a larger pattern of coercive interaction. The system may keep tight controls on information transmission, keeping aggression invisible to those outside the family. Positive feedback loops may produce an upward trend when aggression leads to the achievement of the goals of the perpetrator; negative feedback loops may stabilize the use of aggression and the relationship itself. The family system is characterized by periods of both adaptation and stability; change in intimate aggression may be triggered by internal and/or external disruptions to the system.
Relational control and communication models- Aggression is viewed as a form of interpersonal communication.
These models draw on systems theory; they use the metaphor of “dance” to emphasize the patterns of interaction between individuals and emphasize processes whereby interpersonal behavior is mutually contingent. Interpersonal aggression is associated with control-related conflict and unhealthy/ineffective conflict behaviors; aggression, as a coercive communication strategy, serves to establish and maintain control. Communication patterns of partners who use aggression are characterized by higher levels of competitive symmetry, nonsupport statements, negative reciprocity, escalating cycles, rigid communication patterns, attempts by both husband and wife to exert control, rejection of influence, dominance and power hierarchies, and withdrawal
Conflict theory- Conflict occurs in all social relationships and at all levels of social organization; the family is a system in which family conflict is inevitable. Individuals act to further their own interests and goals; due to the competing interests of members, the family does not seek system equilibrium but rather the management of conflict. Emphasizes power differentials among family members, particularly gender, race, class, and age stratifications, that create structural inequalities. Interpersonal aggression is a conflict strategy that family members enact when other tactics for achieving their interests break down or fail; aggression is a powerful means of achieving one’s goals. The family has a dualistic quality, characterized by both conflict and harmony, competition and cooperation; order is maintained in the family through coercion
Feminist theory – Emphasizes the centrality and value of women’s experiences, the analysis of gender and power relationships, gender as socially constructed, and the importance of historical and sociocultural contexts. Brings to the forefront the intersections of gender and power/control with interpersonal aggression. Systems of patriarchy have legitimated interpersonal aggression as a tactic of male control over women; this has been reinforced by women’s differential access to resources and specialized male and female roles in families. Men may use interpersonal aggression to denigrate and intimidate, prevent women’s autonomous action, and maintain male dominance; men explain their use of aggression in terms of desire for control, fear of abandonment, jealousy, and fear of women’s independence. The family, helping professions, and criminal justice system are all embedded in and affected by discourses discourses that construct aggression against women as legitimate.
Life-course perspective Emphasizes the ongoing processes of intimate relationships as they are embedded in the broader context of social structure and history. Focuses on transitions in relationships and on the socially constructed meanings attached to family processes, including aggression and intimacy. Intimate aggression is a process, rather than an event; aggression is woven into normal family interaction, which may make it difficult to identify the beginning and end of an aggressive episode. The development, maintenance, and demise of an aggressive relationship are processes that are characterized by adaptation, nonlinear change, and heterogeneity.
Life-course transitions may interact with family processes to produce increasingly severe and frequent acts of interpersonal aggression (e.g., when the abused partner takes steps to leave, or during periods of unemployment). The occurrence and aftermath of intimate aggression varies depending on the life-course history of the relationship.-
Life-course transitions can also produce increasing levels of intimate aggression. It can happen even when the abused partner is no longer physically abusive.
Although each of these seven theoretical perspectives has contributed significantly to our understanding of intimate aggression, we believe that greater understanding can be achieved through the integration of these perspectives. In this way, the unique aspect of intimate aggression that each perspective brings to light is integrated into the “both/and” perspective, creating a newly woven tapestry that uses the strengths of each individual theory to fill gaps that other theories leave open (Goldner, Penn, Sheinberg, & Walker, 1990).
Thus our choice of these seven theories reflects our particular dialectical perspective on what is essential to an understanding of intimate aggression: an emphasis on both interpersonal dynamics and the larger social context. Ultimately, we believe that a dialectical perspective allows us to hold multiple theories in our hands simultaneously, acknowledging the dynamic and changing nature of intimate aggression and the contexts that surround it.
Note that a dialectical perspective should not be confused with an eclectic perspective that picks and chooses, often based on the theorist’s personal experience, the “best” features of particular theories. Rather, a dialectical perspective encourages a theoretically guided approach to highlighting certain aspects of existing theories—in particular, those that are consistent with the principles of contradiction, holism, totality, and praxis. –
A dialectical perspective avoids confusing an individual with an eclectic or even an ideogram-based approach to theories. Instead, it encourages a theoretically guided discussion of existing theories that are consistent with certain principles.
Bengston, Vern L.; Acock, Alan C.; Allen, Katherine R.; Dilworth-Anderson, Peggye; Klein, David M.. Sourcebook of Family Theory and Research (p. 319). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.
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