Racialization of Cultures of Violence By State Institutions: The Case of Western Switzerland

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Faten KHAZAEI, University of Neuchatel - MAPS, Switzerland
The Federal Office for Equality between Men and Women, mandated by the Swiss Federal Council, published in 2011 a study on gaps in research in the field of intimate partner violence. This report attests that researches articulating "gender" and "migration" need to be conducted to better understand this type of violence. It suggests particularly investigating the relationship between on one hand, cultural characteristics and conditions of migration and, the other hand, the occurrence of violence. This trend to seek the causes of “domestic violence” – as they call it- in the migration or the so-called “culture of origin” is also found in several programs offered by cantonal offices for equality. This point of view exposures challenges in the case of State institutions in charge of the struggle against domestic violence. Different explanatory models that can be invoked to understand this type of violence may lead to different institutional response, depending on how the “clients” are perceived by agents of these institutions. The subject of this thesis is to understand how these institutions categorize their "clients", manufacture the difference between them and how this categorization leads to differential treatment of the cases. The concepts developed by the Boundary work and the Intersectional perspective, will be useful for understanding of this categorization. For this communication I will expose my first results based on participant observation in a refuge center for victims of intimate partner violence and a hospital service in one canton of French speaking Switzerland.