Positioning theory as a discursive approach to understanding same-sex intimate violence

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This study focuses on same-sex intimate violence, recognizing that violence in gay and lesbian relationships is as severe and prevalent as in heterosexual relationships. Positioning theory as a relational approach is used as an alternative to the dominant individual and structural accounts. Intimate violence is seen as produced through the assignment of rights and duties or positioning in couples’ conversations. Two gay and two lesbian couples were interviewed. A basic discursive pattern was found from 25 accounts of episodes involving physical violence. Violence ensued only after the initiator of violence had claimed innocence or blamelessness and attributed guilt or blame on the receiver of violence. The findings are discussed in relation to the discursive production of power and violence.