In scholarship addressing the issue of violence against women, increasing attention has been given to discussions of men and masculinities and the use of a structural inequality approach. Limited scholarship, however, has explored what a structural inequality approach might look like on the ground, and the ways the interests driving different groups might contribute to either progressing or hindering strategies advocating social equality. Based on 31 interviews with frontline staff working in the areas of domestic violence and refugee settlement in Australia, I explore a structural inequality approach as it applies to engaging resettled refugee men in strategies addressing domestic violence. Strategies addressing domestic violence usually tend to focus on either gender or ‘culture’, contributing to individualistic strategies that result in exclusionary practices. While a focus on gender, which inevitably means a focus on women, can render refugee men as either invisible or as problematic to attempts at engaging men; a focus on ‘culture’ can take away from projects aiming to empower women or increase women’s risk of violence. Refugee women share many inequalities with men, however, and the findings presented in this article suggest that it is necessary to explore more collective strategies to address domestic violence. Mapping the geographies of the contemporary domestic violence ‘movement’, this research shows new players in the domestic violence space – different feminisms, different cultures, and men – suggesting the need to make space for new forms of organising which draw on the knowledge and experience of all groups in society.


Jenny Maturi is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Queensland’s School of Social Science. Her research is exploring the effects that gender equality campaigns aiming to address domestic violence have on refugees in resettlement. It seeks to problematize those structures that prevent the meaningful inclusion of refugees, and the means for refugees to articulate this inclusion in their own voices. A qualitative project, this research provides a new angle on the issue of domestic violence and refugees from the perspective of social policy and front-line service delivery in Australia. Theoretically engaged in topics such as gender, culture, subjectivity and governmentality, this research also has an important practice-oriented aim of improving responses to domestic violence in refugee communities. Jennifer has worked in the human services herself for the past 15 years, the majority of those years spent working in refugee settlement and domestic violence organisations.

About Anthropology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Anthropology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of anthropological research and ideas among UQ scholars and invited researchers. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment.


Online. Please contact the organisers for the Zoom meeting link