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Rhode Island College

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Faculty Publications Faculty Books and Publications

3-1-1979

Victimology: An International Journal, Special Issue on Spouse Abuse and Domestic Violence / Book Review
Emily S. Adler
Rhode Island College, eadler@ric.edu

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Adler, Emily S., "Victimology: An International Journal, Special Issue on Spouse Abuse and Domestic Violence / Book Review" (1979). Faculty Publications. Paper 26. http://digitalcommons.ric.edu/facultypublications/26

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Review: [untitled] Author(s): Emily Stier Adler Source: Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Mar., 1979), pp. 266-267 Published by: American Sociological Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2066158 Accessed: 15/10/2010 13:10
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BOOK REVIEWS
SpeJournal, An International Victimology:
cial Issue on Spouse Abuse and Domestic Violence, vol. 2, nos. 3-4, edited by EMILIO VIANO.Washington, D.C.: Visage Press, 1977-1978. 690 pp. $10.00 paper.

samples that yield conclusions not supported by the facts. tabulations of data that are nearly impossible to interpret.and the inclusion of sociological selections representing one coterie. In addition, ratherthan attemptinga trulyinterdisciplinary volume, the absence of any editorial introductions to the papers leaves one wondering what the intentionmay have been in including a particular article in the collection. For example, the training keys from the International Association of the Chiefs of Police are admirable guidelines for police to follow, but one wonders when and how police officers will find their way to this information, or whether they have already. It would appear to me that the solutions to our social problems sufferas a result of what Coleman called a Gresham's law of conflict,where the naive solutions that are proposed drive out the pragmatic activities that are needed. In spite of this shortcoming and those mentioned above. the book serves a worthwhile purpose in educating and enlightening the public to a problem that legislators, physicians, and families would probably prefer to ignore. A recent

Rhode Island College

EMILY STIER ADLER

Until recently,the familysociology literature has been characterized by a conspicuous absence of research on marital vioto fillthis gap are evidenced lence. Efforts by a growing body of material in the area. It is in this context that Victimology'sSpecial Issue on Spouse Abuse and Domestic Violence makes a worthwhile contribution to the effortto expose the problem and propose solutions. The articles in this collection are multinaby authors tional in content,and are written in a wide varietyof disciplines, but they can be categorized according to their topics. While recognizing that each of the issues discussed has important implications for the others, the primaryemphasis of each article can be identifiedas a presentation of paper in theJournal of theAmerican Medi- empirical research, an account of social accal Association concludes that physicians tivisim.or a set of suggestions for clinical often fail to recognize wife abuse and do practice. The lack of attention to theory not know where to refertheirpatients ifit is building is a weakness both of this collecrecognized. In Iowa, funds to establish shel- tion of articles and of the literaturein this ters and other programs to deal with area as a whole. domestic violence were only recentlymade The methodological adequacy of the artiavailable. The connection between domes- cles presenting research findings varies tic assaults and homicide that I described widely. Straus's article "Wife Beating: How in a publication in 1971 may be lessened as Common and Why" is the best of this interventionstrategies such as those de- group. In addition to presenting data from scribed in this anthology are implemented. the firststudy of familyviolence to use a Other pragmatic efforts that are needed nationally representative sample. Straus would include action research aimed at re- also briefly describes a model of the causes form so that the legislation that has been of familyviolence. In this model he focuses passed in recent years in regard to child on aspects of familystructure and interacabuse will be extended to husband abuse, tion as well as on societal support for vioparent abuse. and wife abuse. lence. In another interestingarticle on the While not everyone will agree with the extent of wife abuse, Dobash and Dobash focus on the feminist movement and discuss the situation in contemporaryScot"sexist" society, or with the editor's intro- land. They also examine the historical conductory postulate that wife beating is the text of marital violence. Their argument is "root cause" of the violence around us, the important to understanding violence disubject is an emotional one that does not rected at women as behavior often defined always lead to the most objective conclu- as normative rather than pathological or sions. But a diversity of opinion is the deviant. by activistsare primarThe articles written strong point of this anthology, and it should serve as a stimulant to the kind ily accounts of the problems encountered in setting up shelters for battered women of applied research described by Hans Toch in a recent issue of Society. in, for example, West Germany (Hafner),
Contemporary Sociology, March 1979, Volume 8, Number 2

BOOK REVIEWS
Great Britain (Sutton), and the United States (Ridington). In addition, there is a powerful pictorial essay (London) which documents the way images of violence against women are used to sell a varietyof products and describes the efforts of feministsto end such practices. This group of articles is the most consistent in explicating the link between the women's movement and attempts to deal with wife abuse. Of the articles on practice, there are several which will be extremelyuseful to proor in the fessionals involved in intervention treatment of victims. Hilberman and Munson focus on the possibility of successful treatmentgiven the constraints of the situation within which the clinician must work. Ball and Wyman consider the application of feminist therapy to counseling battered women and other potentially effective therapeutic strategies. Lynch and Norris discuss some services and programs for battered women and the perspectives that orient them. Jensen examines the laws pertaining to marital violence and the treatment abused wives receive under the current criminal justice system. While most of the articles are concerned with the battered wife, there are some exceptions. Steinmetz, for example. examines the phenomenon of husband battering.And Hosken discusses the practice of genital mutilationof girls and young women which is still common in several Africancountries. In addition to illustratingcultural support for the debasement and hatred of women, Hosken's article picks up a theme found in several of the other articles: violence against women is oftentied to an attemptto control female sexuality. In this case, one of the explanations given for the mutilationis the safeguarding of the wife's sexual fidelity. On balance this collection considers some importantissues and presents useful data. It could serve as a supplementarytext in courses on the sociology of sex roles and the family. Purdue University
WALTER HIRSCH

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Until recently it was the prevailing view that the political and intellectual environment afforded by a liberal-democratic socio-cultural structure provided optimal conditions for the progress of science. But with the coming of Big Science, as the invisible hand became more visible, doubts increased concerning the positivistview of progress. At the same time it became evident that the functional integrationand the in totalitarian autonomy of science societies needed more thorough analysis. The necessity for comparative studies became evident. Science in the Soviet Union has been fairly thoroughlyinvestigated by historians, philosophers, and social and natural scientists, particularly in connection with the Lysenko "affair." In the case of Nazi Germany (in part because of the early demise of the thousand-year Reich), there has been less systematic attention paid to the role of science as an institution;the main emphasis was on atomic bombs, rockets, and "race science." (The social sciences are not under discussion here.) The study by Beyerchen, a young historian, has helped to fill the gap. It is a meticulously researched and well-written account of the manner in which German scientists tried to cope with the political and ideological constraints imposed by a regime which was ambivalent about science: physics contributed to the national glory and to the militaryand economic power of the Reich, but its practitioners, like other academics and intellectuals,were not wholeheartedly beholden to the blood and soil philosophy and clung to their outworn privileges of Lehrfreiheit and Lernfreiheit. The Jews and the politicallyunacceptable were removed fromacademic life. Some of them found a temporaryhaven in independent research organizations or industry.It was not their physical presence but the persistence of their ideas which led to the crucial controversy. The bulk of the book deals with the confrontation between the Knowledge,Science, and History advocates of "German" physics, led by the Scientists Under Hitler: Politics and the Nobel laureates Stark and Lenard, and the PhysicsCommunity in the Third Reich,by great majority of the physics "establishALAN D. BEYERCHEN. New Haven: Yale ment" who sought to preserve the auUniversity Press,1977.287 pp. NPL,cloth. tonomy of their institutionsand the rightto
Contemporary Sociology, March 1979, Volume 8, Number 2