Asian & Asian American Studies

Excellence in Scholarship and Learning


Family Ambiguity and Domestic Violence in Asia

Concept, Law and Process

In the Series
Asian & Asian American Studies

Maznah Mohamad is Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore. She specializes in studies on the politics of family and Islamic law in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

Saskia E. Wieringa is Professor at the University of Amsterdam. Her field of study includes women's same-sex relations across cultures.

This book revisits the issue of Domestic Violence (DV) in Asia by exploring the question of family ambiguity, and interrogating DV's relationship between concept, law and strategy. Comparative experiences in the Asian context enable an examination of the effectiveness of family regulations and laws in diverse national, cultural and religious settings. Key questions relate to the limits and relevance of the human rights discourse in resolving family conflicts; the extent to which power and control in intimate relationships can actually be regulated by a set of inanimate, homogeneous and uniform policies and legislations; and how the state relates to the family as an “ambiguous" unit given state rules of governance that perpetuate unequal gender relations.

Many of the difficulties in understanding DV have sprung from the fact that the family unit is ambiguous. When the state intervenes (e.g. reproductive health) the family is treated as a public concern; yet with respect to individual human/multicultural rights, the family is considered a private domain. Complications and contradictions arise with regard to different legislative/religious practices across Asia: for example, the enforcement of Sharia; technocratic imperatives with regard to demographic goals of marriage and reproduction; and state interference of gender imbalances and inequality. The politics and culture around DV is thus a mirror of modern-day Family-State collusion, which sustains rather than curtails discrimination based on sexuality and gender. This book views gender inequality for instance in relation to heteronormativity as the fundamental basis of intimate violence, rather than violence as a generic and neutral phenomenon, requiring generic solutions. It offers news theoretical insights to the conceptualization of the family, culture and law with respect to DV. And it provides reasoned new perspectives on the effectiveness/inadequacy of present policies, laws and enforcement strategies against domestic violence in Asia.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-555-7
Hardback Price: £65.00 / $74.95
Release Date: May 2013
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Contents to Follow

Review Quotes to Follow

Books can be ordered by phone or online

Ordering in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America and Rest of the World

Gazelle Book Services
Direct sales tel.: +44 (0)1524 528500; email:
Web ordering:

Ordering in the United States and Canada
Independent Publishers Group (IPG)
Direct sales tel.: (800) 888-4741
Web ordering:

Bookseller Ordering
Information is provided under the Resources tab.

eBook Ordering
e-Book type availability can be sourced via by book title. Kindle availability is via Amazon .com and sites.