Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Committee Member

Craig Walton

Number of Pages



Contested claims about the public/private distinction have always been central to liberal democratic principles, to feminist ideologies, and (more narrowly) to domestic violence policymaKing Historically, treatment of domestic violence as a phenomenon that is relegated to the so-called 'private sphere' has served as justification for limiting such public policy remedies as prevention, intervention and recovery initiatives; From the grassroots battered women's movements of the 1970s to the current network of shelters, community agencies and advocacy groups, the last several decades have seen significant progress toward increasing public and political awareness of domestic violence. In the United States, many of these efforts culminated with the 1994 passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the first comprehensive federal legislation to address the issue. Events since then, however, suggest that the public/private distinction continues negatively to restrict domestic violence policy responses, resulting in greater harm to victims as well as to the larger society. These circumstances call for further examination of the distinction in light of domestic violence policy, and for the formulation of alternate or supplemental policy recommendations; This thesis will examine the theoretical underpinnings of the public/private distinction in Western democratic traditions in the context of United States vs. Morrison and U.S. domestic violence policymaking in general. In so doing, it seeks to establish a more precise understanding of how various conceptions of 'private' and 'public' have bearing on domestic violence policies. It will conclude by elucidating prescriptive policy recommendations, with the ultimate aim of possibly improving lives.


Distinctions; Domestic; Drawing; Legitimation; Policymaking; Power; Private; Public; Rendering; United States; Violence

Controlled Subject

Political science; Philosophy; Women's studies; Criminology

File Format


File Size

5304.32 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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