Fathers' rights groups, domestic violence and political countermobilization

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Domestic violence continues to be a serious problem for women in the United States. As a result, the battered women's movement has been tireless in campaigning for greater awareness of the issue, tougher penalties against offenders, and public vigilance against potential batterers, including fathers from dissolving families. In reaction to this stance, a small but vocal countermovement composed of activists in the fathers' rights movement has argued that the BWM is guilty of what I term enemy boundary creep, a perception whereby these men maintain that they have been inappropriately targeted. Using 40 in-depth interviews with fathers' rights activists located across the country, this article details the narrative that these men have composed as to why the BWM is expanding the scope of its enemies, the tactics that the BWM is using in this campaign, and the insidious effects that these efforts are having on fathers across the country. This narrative formulates a boundary-push back response. This analysis thus articulates how an unlikely countermovement can use the accusation of enemy boundary creep by its social movement opponents in an effort to shift the political discourse on a significant public problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-755
Number of pages33
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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