Ambiguous but Crucial Boundaries - Professionals Differentiating Sibling Abuse from Sibling Quarrels
Summary, in English
The subject of sibling violence is a blind spot in both social research and popular culture in Sweden, where we have conducted our empirical study. There is a normalizing discourse around sibling quarreling, with the act generally being seen as a natural part of children’s development. On the other hand, there is a problematizing discourse in an international context; violence perpetrated by and against a sibling has been highlighted as one of the most common forms of violence perpetrated against children. However, the difference between sibling quarrel (or rivalry) and sibling violence (or abuse) often does not come out clearly in existing studies. To put sibling violence on the map of existing societal problems, we need to both critically review definitions and examine how the phenomenon of sibling violence differs from related phenomena, such as sibling quarrels, in the experience of professionals who (potentially) meet victims in their work. The emphasis in the article is on social boundary work, analyzing interviews with social workers and psychotherapists regarding this phenomenon. The analysis shows that it is possible to define sibling violence, though complex, when it comes to how the boundaries are shaped and interpreted in concrete social and psychological work, as well as different situations and contexts.
- Child, Youth and Family
- Social Vulnerability and Inequality
- Social Work
- ISSN: 0038-0237