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Resistance and the paradox of legal entitlement – a theoretical analysis of migrant women’s responses to domestic abuse in the host country
The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-05-27, DOI: 10.1080/07329113.2021.1925458
Sofia Graca


This article provides a theoretically informed examination of migrant women’s responses to domestic abuse in the host country. It departs from an analysis of research on South Asian women in England, on Portuguese women in England and on Portuguese women in Canada to suggest that women’s apparent lack of mobilisation of law (primarily by eschewing contact with the justice system of the host country and preferring informality), both perpetuates hegemonic discourses and presents a possibility for change. The theoretical approach undertaken combines literature on legal consciousness, power and resistance, and on socio-cultural structures and barriers that affect migrant women. The article ultimately suggests that, rather than an acceptance of hegemonic discourses, women’s behaviour is best understood as a form of resistance to, and from within, socio-cultural pressures encountered in everyday life; as a form of “entrenched” resistance.