Silence and Visual Representations of Anti-Violence Campaigns in Cosmopolitan Brisbane

in Anthropology in Action

In spite of the growing public focus on domestic violence (DV) in mainstream Australian society, ethnographers have remained aloof from analysing this problem. In an ethnographic study in the Brisbane region, I analysed people’s perceptions of anti-violence images that were part of a public campaign and assessed the appropriateness of the images’ locations. Occasionally, my interlocutors unexpectedly included accounts of DV. My analysis reveals the tensions between public display and the concealment underlying the campaign. The interlocutors revealed experiences of competing responsibilities related to DV. The use of subtle images of anti-violence in locations filled with competing images, coupled with a failure to consider historical continuities and changes in local imaginaries of violence, exposed the difficulties associated with conveying persuasive messages of DV prevention.

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Anthropology in Action

Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice