Men and violence : life hi/stories of male sex offenders
This study is a study of men who have been convicted of sexual offences. However, unlike many studies of, this group of men this research seeks to understand them as men. The chosen method of inquiry is the life hi/story approach. Nine men imprisoned for sex offences agreed to tell their life hi/stories. All of the interviews took place in prison. The interviews were semi-structured and allowed the men to tell their stories from their earliest memories to their current situation, using transitions (e. g. entry to school, work) as prompts for memories. Additionally the emotional responses to life events were explored in depth. The transcripts of the interviews were analysed initially looking for common themes and links in the stories, and latterly using the tripartite structure (power relations, production relations, and cathexis) developed by Connell (1995). The analytical process produced a massive amount of material. In this study one aspect of the life hi/stories is presented in detail; deriving from both power relations within the family and close emotional relations implied by cathexis, this study focuses on what the men said about their relationships with their fathers and also what they said about being fathers. The study is located in traditions of Social Science research, particularly both psychology and sociology. Ontological and epistemological issues are reviewed in depth and related to hermeneutic approaches to understanding/ interpreting the life hi/stories of men. Within the context of hermeneutical interpretation and feminist standpoint theory the study is undertaken from an explicitly pro-feminist orientation. The values, gender and standpoint of the researcher and how they relate to the study are critically examined and explored. These issues are starkly brought into focus given the area of the study: sexually abusive men. The impacts of undertaking research in this area are also considered.