We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Domestic Violence, Liminality and Precarity in the British Borderlands
Polish women’s experiences of abuse and service engagement in Edinburgh

JOHNSON, KELLY (2017) Domestic Violence, Liminality and Precarity in the British Borderlands
Polish women’s experiences of abuse and service engagement in Edinburgh.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


Despite extensive attempts to tackle domestic violence, it remains a pervasive, insidious and pertinent issue. This applied anthropological study attends to several unchartered dimensions of domestic violence in a previously unexplored context – namely, Polish migrant women’s experiences of abuse and associated service engagement in the United Kingdom. Research was conducted between 2013 and 2015 via a multi-sited ethnography, across institutions that administered and provided support to women experiencing domestic violence in Edinburgh. Analysis focuses on the significance of political economy in the context of domestic violence, particularly on how political economic practices relating to British statecraft intersected with Polish women’s migrant identities and experiences. Accordingly, this work is foregrounded within an intersectional paradigm of borderlands. This perspective permits this text to demonstrate how markers of difference, engendered by nation states, shaped Polish women’s experiences of abuse and their help-seeking interactions.

In constructing this analysis, I draw attention to the salience of political concerns that are not typically included in discussions about domestic violence, and reflect upon their practical, existential and subjective implications. This reveals various ways in which the UK border, ethnic categorisation, and welfare governance intersected with Polish women’s migrant identities, to forge specific domestic violence realities. Throughout my analysis liminality and precarity prove prominent themes, which I argue permeated women’s experiences, their political subjectivities, and ultimately, their ability to achieve safety and protection from abuse. Principally, this work serves to create a critical discourse, highlighting how political economic factors can engender greater marginalisation and risk of domestic violence for Polish women.

The research that grounds this thesis is therefore situated in the under-explored field of the anthropology of domestic violence. Through the use of ethnography, this work elucidates Polish women’s lived experiences of domestic violence and service engagement, but also the nature of the British borderlands, in which Polish women are emplaced. In doing so, this thesis illustrates the potential of anthropology for informing understandings of domestic violence, and conversely the possibility of domestic violence research for contributing to perspectives in anthropology.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Domestic Violence and Abuse, Polish and European Migrant Women, Borderlands, Political Economy, Liminality, Precarity
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Dec 2017 12:05

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter