Journal article

Power, process, plumbing: Big G and small g gender in Victoria’s Family Violence policy subsystem

Gender Family violence Feminism Australia


In this article, I introduce the framework of ‘big G’ (categorical) and ‘small g’ (process)gender to explore the varied ways in which actors in Victoria’s family violence policy subsystem talk about and understand gender. I explain why such varied definitions of gender pose a problem for domestic and family violence (DFV) advocates, and how big G definitions might be associated with reluctance to accept gendered explanations for DFV. Conversely,  I show how small g definitions (coupled with an analysis of power in relationships) can help us appreciate the way gender influences a variety of forms of DFV, and thus understand how to address the problem. Lastly, I use examples from interviews with policy actors to connect participants’ understanding of gender with their attitudes to the role of gender in DFV, and discuss the practical and theoretical implications of my research for feminist DFV advocates and policymakers.


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