A Typology of Domestic Violence: Intimate Terrorism, Violent Resistance, and Situational Couple Violence / Edition 1

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Domestic violence, a serious and far-reaching social problem, has generated two key debates among researchers. The first debate is about gender and domestic violence. Some scholars argue that domestic violence is primarily male-perpetrated, others that women are as violent as men in intimate relationships. Johnson’s response to this debate—and the central theme of this book—is that there is more than one type of intimate partner violence. Some studies address the type of violence that is perpetrated primarily by men, while others are getting at the kind of violence that women areinvolved in as well. Because there has been no theoretical framework delineating types of domestic violence, researchers have easily misread one another’s studies.

The second major debate involves how many women are abused each year by their partners. Estimates range from two to six million. Johnson’s response once again comes from this book’s central theme. If there is more than one type of intimate partner violence, then the numbers depend on what type you’re talking about.

Johnson argues that domestic violence is not a unitary phenomenon. Instead, he delineates three major, dramatically different, forms of partner violence: intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence. He roots the conceptual distinctions among the forms of violence in an analysis of the role of power and control in relationship violence and shows that the failure to make these basic distinctions among types of partner violence has produced a research literature that is plagued by both overgeneralizations and ostensibly contradictory findings. This volume begins the work of theorizing forms of domestic violence, a crucial first step to a better understanding of these phenomena among scholars, social scientists, policy makers, and service providers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This excellent book brings so much to the discourse on intimate partner violence and paves the way for more nuanced, theoretically-driven research, practice, and advocacy. The book is a must read for researchers in the field, and it also can serve as an essential guide for beginning scholars and graduate students on how to be critical consumers of domestic violence research. Overall, the book makes a significant contribution to the violence field." —Journal of Marriage and Family

“This book makes several valuable contributions to the literature on domestic violence. . . . Johnson’s book is well written and engaging. It is highly recommended reading for undergraduates, graduate students, academics, and policy makers interested in creating prevention and intervention services for domestic violence.”—Gender and Society

“Michael Johnson presents a thought-provoking argument for why existing research on intimate partner violence conflates several different phenomena, thus failing to adequately understand the issue. By separating types of intimate partner violence into the three categories, intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence, Johnson argues that existing tensions in the research can be reconciled.”—Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, and Justice

“Johnson’s compelling distinction between intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence has been the most influential of the typologies proposed in the past two decades. In this volume, Johnson lays the case for his thesis that the past forty years of domestic violence research have generated misleading and contradictory findings because researchers have failed to recognize distinctions between these types. The clarity and brevity of his argument and the liveliness of his style make this book an excellent choice for students and researchers who want to understand domestic violence typologies.”—Contemporary Sociology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555536947
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2008
  • Series: Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 314,319
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

MICHAEL P. JOHNSON is Associate Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Women’s Studies, and African and African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University.

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Table of Contents


Control and Violence in Intimate Relationships
Intimate Terrorism and Other Types of Partner Violence
Intimate Terrorism
Violent Resistance
Situational Couple Violence
Mutual Violent Control
Doing Research on Intimate Terrorism and Other Types of Partner Violence
Asking the Right Questions: The Nature of Coercive Control
Not Asking the Right Questions: The Battered Husband Fiasco
When the Right Questions Aren't Asked, Where Do We Find the Types?

Intimate Terrorism: Controlling Your Partner
The Basic Characteristics of (Heterosexual Men's) Intimate Terrorism
Nonviolent Control Tactics
The Nature and Pattern of the Violence
Who Are the Intimate Terrorists?
Two Types of Intimate Terrorists: Psychological Commonalities and Differences
Risk Markers for Intimate Terrorism
The Effects of Intimate Terrorism
Economic Effects
Physical Health
Psychological Health
Effects on the Relationship with the Abuser
Incipient Intimate Terrorism/Nonviolent Coercive Control

Fighting Back: Violent Resistance
Women Coping with Intimate Terrorism
Violent Resistance
Desperate Acts
The Good News

Conflicts That Turn Violent: Situational Couple Violence
Variability in the Violence Itself
The Causes of Chronic Situational Couple Violence
Sources of Couple Conflict
Couple Communication Patterns That Affect Escalation to Violence
Individual Background and Personality Factors That Affect Escalation to Violence
The Effects of Situational Couple Violence
Physical Health
Psychological Health
The Relationship with the Abuser
The Essential Variability of Situational Couple Violence

Implications for Intervention, Prevention, and Research
Implications for Intervention
Shelters and Other Battered Women's Services
Law Enforcement
Batterer Programs
Family Court and Child Protective Services
Coordinated Community Response
Implications for Prevention
Implications for Research

Appendix A: Identifying Intimate Terrorism and Other Types of Partner Violence
Measuring Coercive Control
Identifying High Coercive Control
What Is the Role of Violence in the Typology?
The Data in this Book
Samples and Measures Used in the Analyses for This Book
Johnson et al.: Six Other Papers

Appendix B: Stalking and Separation-Precipitated Violence
Intimate Terrorism and the Risks of Leaving
Separation-Precipitated Violence That May Be Situational Couple Violence

Appendix C: Gender and Intimate Partner Violence
Gender and Intimate Terrorism
What About Situational Couple Violence?
A Note on Same-Sex Relationships


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