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The (Heterosexual) Regendering of a Modern State: Criminalizing and Implementing Domestic Violence Law in Trinidad

  • Mindie Lazarus-Black

Abstract

This paper investigates one example of a process with global implications that I describe as the “regendering” of the state. Regendering refers to the process of bringing to public and legal attention categories and activities that were formerly without name but that constituted harm to women, denied them rights, silenced them, or limited their capacity to engage in actions available to men. I examine the regendering of the Trinidadian state by focusing on one of its most salient examples, the Domestic Violence Act. I identify first the coalition of forces and events that brought the subject of violence against women to lawmakers' attention and made possible the first Domestic Violence Act in the English-speaking Caribbean. I then investigate the interplay between the global discourse about domestic violence law—the passage of which has become an important symbol of the “modern” state—and local concerns about justice, gender, and family. Finally, I consider problems in the implementation of domestic violence law.

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The (Heterosexual) Regendering of a Modern State: Criminalizing and Implementing Domestic Violence Law in Trinidad

  • Mindie Lazarus-Black

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