Cornell University

Paradoxes of Survivorhood | Paige Sweet | Sociology Colloquium

Friday, March 10, 2023 at 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Virtual Event

As part of the Spring 2023 Sociology Colloquium, the Department of Sociology invites you to attend this event with Paige Sweet, hosted by Jaime Budnick.

Paradoxes of Survivorhood: Becoming Legible after Domestic Violence

For women who have experienced domestic violence, proving that you are a “good victim” is no longer enough. Victims must also show that they are recovering, as if domestic violence were a disease: they must transform from “victims” into “survivors.” Women’s access to life-saving resources may even hinge on “good” performances of survivorhood. In this talk, I focus on how domestic violence victims make themselves legible as “good” survivors in the increasingly medicalized institutions surrounding domestic violence. Victims face pressure to attend therapy – and demonstrate psychological recovery – in order to access state resources like child custody and visas. Second, I highlight the strategies that women develop to become legible as “survivors” in powerful institutions, such as performing survivorhood through “respectable” motherhood and sexuality. More generally, I use an intersectional lens to uncover how “resilience” and “survivorhood” can become coercive and exclusionary forces in women’s lives. As such, this project wrestles with questions about the gendered nature of the welfare state, the unintended consequences of feminist mobilizations for anti-violence programs, and the women who are left behind by the limited forms of citizenship we offer them.

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Paige Sweet

Speaker Affiliation

University of Michigan

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