Volume 20, Issue 76 (4-2020)                   refahj 2020, 20(76): 87-129 | Back to browse issues page

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lotfi khachaki T, kermani M. Women’s Agency in the Face of Symbolic Violence in the Middle Class. refahj. 2020; 20 (76) :87-129
URL: http://refahj.uswr.ac.ir/article-1-3443-en.html
Abstract:   (1100 Views)
Extended abstract
Introduction: The family has two faces. A family may be like the paradise that encompasses the feelings of love and security, and family members love each other, care for each other, and get along with each other. However, a family can also have a dark side and it can be regarded as an environment prone to violence in the society. Violence in the family occurs both against women and men. But generally, violence against women in all over the world is more than violence against men. Nowadays, the idea that domestic violence is a private, family related, and individual matter or an inevitable reality is challenged. Domestic violence against women is one of the issues impacting the lives of many women in various social classes and sectors. The results of a survey show that 47% of women are exposed to violence during their childhood and 33% after marriage; it can be said 65% of married women are exposed to violence (Ozyurt & Deveci, 2011). Due to the fact that most of the research studies on domestic violence in Iran has been conducted quantitatively, and they mainly deal with direct and overt violence, there appears to be a need to conduct this qualitative research. The most sensitive theoretical foundations of the present study have been based on Coleman’s Resource Theory, Rational Choice Theory, and Bourdieu’s Symbolic Violence. Violence first is formed in the mind, and it is based on the cultural discourse of the community. In fact, the methods of violence should be sought within the physical-cultural structure of the community. Nowadays, due to cultural reasons physical violence has been less visible than before, psychological and verbal violence has always been hidden in the cultural structure of the society, and there have been many victims. Symbolic violence is a type of violence against women, in which violence comes out of the obvious and physical aspects and becomes furtive and symbolic. The present study seeks to understand the phenomenon of symbolic violence as a kind of violence that is more common among middle-class families because women in these classes have some resources that protect them from obvious aspects of violence. The perception of women against symbolic violence, the strategies they take in these violent situations, the conditions governing these strategies and perceptions, and ultimately, the probable outcomes are the ones that the study seeks to investigate.
Method: This research is a qualitative study based on the Grounded theory including 15 in-depth interviews among educated middle-class women in Mashhad. Data analysis is based on a systematic and continuous process of data comparison. The main technique of data analysis is coding, which takes place in a three-step process with three different forms. Coding is done (as the axis of analysis in basic theory) in three ways: open coding, axial coding, and selective coding. The researcher/s should constantly go back and forth through these three stages. Grounded theory constantly asks which of the phenomena are the main ones. Ultimately, the main phenomenon is named as the “main category”. In this study, informal interviews were used to reach concepts and categories first. After several initial interviews, interview questions were modified for the better measurement of the issue and the categories and implications of the interviews were followed up in subsequent interviews. The interviews continued until the researchers reached theoretical saturation (the data were similar and did not add anything new to our knowledge). The interviewees were women aged 20 to 35 who had university degrees and they were relatively from middle class. Questions were also related to family status, the challenges faced in marital life, violence, perception of violence, and how to deal with it.
Findings: The middle-class women who had undergraduate educational degrees, along with access to financial resources, social protection, and legal centers either in the form of kinship networks, or through employment or from formal institutions, were more often more than other kinds. They were subject to violence against symbolic violence by their wives. This kind of violence, like other forms of violence, does not reveal any obvious evidence. But the significant point is the dynamism of the ways that women face such violence, which is mainly to apply a conscious awareness of women’s subtleties, so that the reflection of the behaviors with the least cost from them is taken to the opposite side. In other words, in these cases, it could be seen that a kind of management and inclination to feminine to remove or at least moderate the symbolic violence in marital life. Twenty main categories and one core category were extracted from data encoding. The concept of” Women’s agency in the face of symbolic violence “ was called the core concept. And other categories included the involvement of husband’s relatives, subjective orientation of spouse’s marital activity, instability in norms of marriage life, accessibility of supplements, accessibility of complementary supplements, increasing awareness among women, socio-economic equality as the causal condition; socio-cultural conditions of the global environment of the Iranian middle class and developments in the system of Iranian values and beliefs as the underlying conditions and cultural capital — social, working / financial conditions of women, economic status of family, which were considered as an interventional condition. Likewise, flexible exposure, neglect, fluid exposure, counteraction, and passive exposure as strategic conditions; and finally, the persistence / shakiness of family life, the perpetuation / descent of women in the family, the level of domestic violence and the calm / confusion of the family environment as a consequence, were finally extracted from the data.
Discussion: Middle-class women with resources such as public and university education, and better access to financial resources, social protection, and legal authority have made it impossible for their husbands to realize the potential for overt and direct violence. But a more subtle and covert form of violence is experienced by women. In the meantime, there is a kind of feminine management and agency in women, which is cleverly designed to eliminate or at least alleviate the symbolic violence in the field of married life, so that it minimizes the costs for their husbands.
Ethical Considerations:
Authors’ contributions
All authors contributed in producing of the research.
In the present study, all expenses were borne by the authors and they did not have any sponsors.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declared no conflict of interest.
In this article, all rights relating to references are cited and resources are carefully listed.
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Type of Study: orginal |
Received: 2019/07/3 | Accepted: 2020/06/2 | Published: 2020/10/6

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