Paige Sweet lectures at UIC Institute for the Humanities

The Health and Society Working Group and UIC Institute for the Humanities present:

Paige Sweet
PhD Candidate, UIC Sociology

October 2, 2017 from 2-4 PM
Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Morgan, Lower Level
Stevenson Hall, University of Illinois at Chicago

The Paradox of Legibility: Domestic Violence and Institutional Survivorhood 

Drawing on 18 months of interview and archival research, this project explores how, in order to be legible to the increasingly medicalized anti-violence field, domestic violence victims face pressure to narrate and perform psychological recovery. Women learn to tell stories of intimate violence in a way that makes sense to domestic violence agencies, to courts, to child services, and to immigration authorities. Because these institutions often understand domestic violence as a kind of disease in need of cure, women mold their experiences into narratives of individualized, psychological recovery. These demands create a paradox of legibility: to become a legitimate domestic violence survivor and secure resources from institutions, women must tell stories of psychological survival, even as those very stories erase the structural contexts of victimization and survival.

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