Abstract

The Family Violence Option, an amendment that sought to mitigate the effects that "welfare reform" would have on victims of domestic violence, embodied the quintessential arguments for feminist reform. Accepting the larger transformations within the welfare system as inevitable, mainstream feminist activists chose to link their political claims to both a law and order agenda that emphasized criminalizing individual acts of violence rather than addressing structural violence and to neoliberal forms of governance that emphasized individual rehabilitation and labor discipline as the solutions to economic inequality. In analyzing the political struggle over the Family Violence Option during the mid-1990s, this essay demonstrates the many pitfalls of looking to the state to protect women from violence in a context in which the state is itself a major perpetrator of gendered violence and advocates instead for the necessity of feminist social movements that challenge rather than accommodate state violence.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 253-277
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-19
Open Access
No
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