“He beat her so hard she fell head over heels”

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This chapter focuses on the discursive strategy of normalisation as one way wife abuse is legitimated in Colombia, exploring specific cultural aspects of this strategy and relating them to a more universal patriarchal ideology about violence against women. This study lies at the intersection of research concerning violence against women, discourse analysis, and Colombian culture. Critical discourse analysis (van Dijk 1993, 2001) and grounded theory (Corbin and Strauss 2008) are brought together to form a methodology for examining the legitimation (Pardo Abril 2007; van Leeuwen 2007) of violence against women in newspaper internet forums. The data set consists of internet forum discussions in the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo about a case of wife abuse. Drawing on sayings, metaphors, euphemisms, and jokes, this chapter shows how wife abuse is normalised in these El Tiempo forums. The postings employ discourses which suggest that violence is an acceptable and even important part of intimate partner relationships. The data analysed in this chapter elucidates part of an ideology in which masculinity is linked to authority, abuse is related to love, and suffering is part of femininity, in this way illustrating the connection between a centuries-old patriarchal ideology (Fernández Poncela 2002) and the normalisation of wife abuse in contemporary Colombian society.


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