Kuhn's concept of "normal science" finds
ample suport in the sociopolitical, gendered analysis of domestic
violence. Methods of inquiry proceed according to unquestioned assumptions
that inform the paradigm of male power and control. The paradigm
confounds puzzle solving by delimiting the parameters of inquiry,
resulting in biased interpretation of data, or myopic inability
to observe relevant data: "phenomena... that will not fit
in the box are often not seen at all
" (Hergenhahn, 8-9).
Male victims are not seen because the phenomenon cannot be assimilated
or co-exist with conventional sociopolitical theory
, and will
not be fully recognized until the sheer weight of evidence precipitates
a "paradigm shift."
After decades of refusing to see female perpetrated violence, pro-feminist
research now acknowleges
While this is encouraging for advocates of gender-equity, the fact
that researchers remain focused on interpretating data from within
the confines of a deeply flawed ideology demonstrates the tenacity
of emotionally-driven belief systems and indicates that acceptance
of a truly gender-incluive approach will take some time.
"...the feminist approach has been unable to account for
other key research findings. Indeed, close reading of feminist
theory and research on the problem of wife assault reveals what
Kuhn (1965) referred to as a paradigm. Paradigms direct research
but also serve to deflect critical analysis of the paradigms'
own central tenets through diverting attention from contradictory
data. A form of "groupthink" (Janis 1982) ensues whereby
dissent is stifled by directing attention from potential contradictory
information. I shall argue below that much information exists
that contradicts the notion that patriarchy is a main effect for
wife assault. (That is, that patriarchy serves as a sufficient
cause for male assaultiveness). I shall also argue that feminist
disdain for psychopathological explanations of wife assault are
politically driven, leading to an obfuscation of our understanding
of the phenomenon of male assaultiveness. I shall conclude that
psychopathology and patriarchy interact to produce abuse but that
both are required to fully understand male abusiveness in intimate
Dutton, D. (1994). Patriarchy and Wife Assault: The Ecological
Fallacy. Violence & Victims, 9, (2), 125 - 140.