Over the last few decades, intimate partner violence (IPV) has increasingly gained public attention and has been established as a gender-based issue and a priority concern in the international policy agenda. Despite remarkable achievements, effective transformations are strongly bound to established forms of social knowledge and unequal gender relations. Drawing on a gender perspective, and integrating it with psychological, social, and political theories, this study aims to explore the dynamics of social understandings and practices related to intimate partners violence interacting with broader changes. More precisely, this proposal looks at how the recent notion of IPV is symbolically signified, negotiated and shaped in the public sphere and in the institutional arena, by conducting field studies in two European countries, Italy and the UK. Common sense thinking and expert knowledge of IPV are analysed and compared: public knowledge is scrutinised through the analysis of media news and representations while institutional knowledge is investigated through the analysis of health professionals’ approaches. The rationale of the cross-cultural comparison between UK and Italy rests on their remarkable differences in terms of approach to the feminist perspective, to gender equality and ethnic diversity. It is expected that the present proposal might contribute to a sounder understanding of how IPV is represented in society and, ultimately, to its prevention in the European context.
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