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(Mis)managed Empowerment: Exploring Paradoxes of Practice in Domestic Violence Prevention

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Abstract:

Empowerment approaches to domestic violence prevention are gaining in popularity because of their commitment to individualized care and recognition that the survivor is the expert of her own life. However, organizations charged with empowering survivors of domestic violence confront paradoxes when putting empowerment theory into practice. To better understand how practitioners address paradoxes of practice, we take a grounded practical theory approach to explore how one domestic violence prevention organization discursively constructs and enacts empowerment in organizational life. Our analysis reveals two paradoxes of practice: (1) a paradox of consistency, and (2) a paradox of transparency. Both paradoxes inform and constrain social change organizing. This study's practical promise is revealed in the discursive strategies employed by organizational members to bridge the gap between empowerment in theory and empowerment in practice.

Keywords: Domestic Violence; Empowerment; Organizational Communication; Paradox

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00909882.2013.770903

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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