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Portrait Susanne Boethius. Photo.

Susanne Boethius


Portrait Susanne Boethius. Photo.

Män, våld och moralarbete : Rapporter från män som sökt behandling för våld i nära relationer

Men, violence and moral work : Reports from help-seeking men at treatment centrers working with violence in close relationships


  • Susanne Boethius

Summary, in English

Men, violence and moral work- Reports from help-seeking men at treatment centers working with violence in close relationships

Men’s violence against women is an extensive social problem. In the 1970s, a new kind of centers were

established in the US and UK, focusing on treating men who had been violent against their wives or girlfriends, the

aim which is to end the men’s violent behavior. In the 1980s the first center where violent men could seek help was

established in Sweden. Even though these treatment programs have been around for almost 30 years, they have

received limited attention from researchers and evaluators. Research in the field on domestic violence is less

frequently studied from the perspective of men rather than from the female perspective. This thesis explores how

men, who voluntarily sought help at men´s centers report their experiences of violence and treatment.

The study is based on two types of data; responses given on a questionnaire collected primarily for an evaluation

study, and analyses of qualitative interviews conducted for this thesis only. The results from the questionnaire shows

that, the men who seek help at a treatment center do not constitute a heterogeneous group. Some men report

frequent unilateral psychological, physical and sexual violence use against their partners. Other men report no

physical or sexual violence use at all. Many men report being exposed to their partner’s violence. The motives for

seeking help are not always to end the violent behavior. The possibility to assert whether the treatment was effective

is also discussed. There was no control group, meaning that there is no way to compare the results with those men

who did not participate in the treatment. However, the men report less violence use one year after the first contact

was made with the treatment center.

The main part of the analysis explores how the interviewed men present themselves. In other words, the thesis

highlights the men’s explanations and portrayals of their own retold experiences. The analysis shows that all the men

construct a morally decent description of their selves. Inspired by Scott & Lyman’s (1968) sociological concept

‘accounts’ and Goffman’s (1971) ‘presentation of self’, the moral work, made by presenting the retold violent acts and

their relationships, are identified.

Furthermore, the men switch between denying and claiming responsibility. At times they deny responsibility for

the violence used and place it with the women (“it’s her fault”), their background, or specific situations. At other

times they claim responsibility, and do this on three different levels; 1) in the situation, 2) by explaining that they

have been trying to end the relationship and 3) by arguing that they has been trying to seek help. The men also

negotiate the concepts of ‘violence’ and ‘women abuser’, making efforts to make distinctions between themselves

and “real” women abusers.


  • Sociology

Publishing year





Lund Dissertations in Sociology



Document type



Lund University


  • Sociology


  • mäns våld mot kvinnor
  • våld
  • behandling av män
  • moralarbete
  • accounts
  • våldsamma män
  • Våld i nära relationer




  • Malin Åkerström


  • ISSN: 1102-4712
  • ISBN: 978-91-7623-451-8
  • ISBN: 978-91-7623-450-1

Defence date

2 October 2015

Defence time


Defence place

Kulturens Auditorium, Tegnérsplatsen, Lund


  • Tove Pettersson (Docent)