Maddalena Cannito Paola Maria Torrioni Valeria Zanapa

Rethinking the relations among actors in the contrast to violence against women

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The relations among actors working to contrast gender-based violence against women remain a neglected topic in sociology, despite a general acknowledgment of the importance of building a solid network to fight this phenomenon. The aim of the paper is to fill this gap by using the concepts coming from neoinstitutionalism, in particular that of organizational field, to enlighten obstacles and potentialities of the creation of an anti-violence organizational field. To pursue this objective, using focus groups with workers of battered women’s shelters, we focus on the empirical case of the city of Turin and its antiviolence field. The results show that the neo-institutionalist theory has a great potential to analyze and understand the relations among actors in the field of antiviolence, and that there are several obstacles to the possibility of structuring it. Moreover, on a local basis, despite the great efforts made by the city of Turin to institutionalize the field, the relations among actors engaged in contrasting violence against women continue to resemble more to a network of organizations than to an organizational field


  • gender-based violence
  • organizational field
  • institutionalization
  • local field


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