Terror at Home On the Rhetoric of Domestic Violence Legislation in the United Kingdom and Spain

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The present study analyses two Parliamentary Acts on the subject of domestic violence: the Spanish Organic Law 1/2004 on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 from the United
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  Terror at Home On the Rhetoric of Domestic Violence Legislation in the United Kingdom and Spain  Mar’a çngeles Orts Llopis Murcia university Ð Spain  Abstract The present study analyses two Parliamentary Acts on the subject of domestic violence: the Spanish Organic Law 1/2004 on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 from the United Kingdom. The analysis of the texts (organised into two corpora, SPA and UKA respectively) was carried out in three different stages, the first one consisting in the automatic processing of the two texts using Monoconc. After doing so, the lexical component of the two corpora was examined on a superficial level, followed by a discursive analysis of the macrostructural organization of both legal texts. The third stage of analysis focused upon the number and types of metadiscourse markers, capable of unveiling interpersonal relationships in both corpora. These three different but complementary levels of analysis have led us to conclude that the Acts represent different stances from which the subject of domestic violence is envisaged in the Spanish and English contexts. Both legal texts display specific traits that pertain to the different legal cultures these legal instruments arise from. Additionally, such traits reflect rhetorical and cultural dissimilarities in the way in which domestic terror is fought and offer clues for the translation of these Acts. Keywords:   domestic violence, genre violence, legal genre, intercultural communication, legal translation   Introduction The present work undertakes the study of the Spanish Organic Law 1/2004 of Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence (hereinafter SPA) and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 from the United Kingdom (hereinafter UKA). Its major aim is to spot the cultural  differences springing from the different legal cultures laws belong to and also from the way the subject is contemplated in Spain and the UK. The study has been carried out in three stages. The superficial or formal stage is devoted to the description of the lexical peculiarities in either genre; the second deals with the discursive level, through the study of the macrostructure or supra-organisation of genres, and the third stage focuses upon the interpersonal relationships established in both laws by means of the use of metadiscourse markers. Since the translation of legal texts across cultures concerns itself with language and cultural differences, Acts were regarded as products of the particular discursive community represented by the legal profession in two countries where legislation plays a different social role. Actually, comparative law specialists like Merryman (1978) and Tetley (2000) consider the existence of very different legal cultures and traditions. Along those lines, legal translators like Duro (2005) and Orts (2015) describe the deep gap existing between the legal tradition of Spanish law and that of Anglo-Saxon law. In fact, discrepancies between legal genres across nations could be associated to the unavoidable connection between language and culture. Statute law has received some attention by linguistic studies in the fields of genre and translation (Alcaraz and Hughes, 2002 and Cao 2007, among many others). As rule-making documents, legislative texts in Spain and in the Anglo-American systems present functional similarities, namely, to confer citizens a right, privilege or power; to abridge a right, privilege or power, or to oblige a person to act or not to act (Dickerson, 1986). Nevertheless, when translating legislative texts from English into Spanish, the greatest challenge that the legal translator faces is the lack of uniformity between the Spanish and the Anglo-American law systems. Such lack of uniformity springs from their different epistemological traditions: on the one hand, the English-speaking Common Law Ða product of English Empiricism, which asserts that knowledge can only be grasped through experience and evidence !  and, on the other hand, Continental or Civil law, a product of Cartesian rationalism, which grants theory and concepts an essential and organizational nature (Orts, 2015). The Common Law system dates back to the Middle Ages in England and was applied within British colonies across continents. However, Continental Law ! based upon the Justinian Code !  was adapted and newly codified in the 19th century by Napoleon. It spread in continental Europe in the 19 th  century and was applied in the colonies belonging to European expanding empires such as Spain or Portugal. One of the most salient traits of Common Law is the absence of codes and the relatively lesser importance of written law, in favour of an empirical, inductivist method that looks at the case in hand. It is mainly based upon precedent, following the doctrine of stare decisis ("stay upon what has been  decided"), according to which the law must be applied in line with previous court decisions. It could actually be stated that the law is, if not totally at least in a great part, Òjudge-madeÓ. This is why statutes are not the most important legal source (Cao, 2007), they are fairly restricted in subject-matter, covering specific areas of rule-making (Tetley, 2000) and being supported by hermeneutical autonomy (i.e, there is no room for interpretation but the Act itself). The rule expressio unius et exclusio alterius ("the express mention of one thing excludes the presumption of all others")implies that English legal texts are crammed with multifarious details and particularities, containing all the data for the elucidation of their meaning and their subsequent implementation. In line with a deductive and more abstract thinking style that gives priority to concepts and symbolic knowledge, the Spanish legal system endeavours Òto frame the activity of human coexistence through the assignment of rights and duties and the appraisal of social behaviours as right or wrong, in accordance with a set of general principlesÓ (Orts, 2015:35). During the Enlightenment, the ambition of rulers to rationalize the law resulted into a compact normative body where Òthere is scarce life beyond codesÓ (Duro, 2005: 620). A child of Justinian law, the Spanish legal system, is based upon legislation, custom and the general principles of law. The fact that codification is the prior source within the Spanish system implies that texts govern at large the dynamics of legal activity in Spain. With regard to the pragmalinguistic analysis of the above-mentioned laws, it is aimed at shedding some light on the way in which domestic/genre violence is envisaged in Spain and the UK, suggesting that it may mirror two different social stances on the same topic. Even if both Acts fight against the same phenomenon, the concepts of Ôgender violenceÕ and Ôdomestic violenceÕ do not always seem to be clear-cut and distinctly conceptualized worldwide. Furthermore, neither of the Acts under examination defines the differences between gender and domestic violence. In fact, the 2004 Spanish Act has been blamed for exercising what has been called Ôpositive discriminationÕ (Burgos 2007: 29), since it implicitly categorizes any kind of gender violence as male violence against women. The label Ô violencia de gŽneroÕ  (gender violence) indistinctly denotes the violent acts perpetrated by male partners on women, also referring to the consequences that those acts may have in the family environment, specifically on minors. The concepts in the UK remain equally fuzzy. The 2004 Domestic Violence Act defines itself as a series of amendments to other laws, such as the Family Act 1996 and to several sections of the 2003 Criminal Act. It does not provide a clear definition of what domestic violence actually consists in or mention  gender violence. A sociological study undertaken by Walby and Allen (2004) during the passing of the Act affirmed that 89% of all those who have experienced four or more incidents of domestic violence are women and, along the same lines, the ONS ! Office of National Statistics[1] !  specifies that four times as many women as men are killed by a current or former partner. However, the Act does not make any reference to gender issues in its wording. Hence, the main socio-cultural difference between the ways in which either nation envisions the subject of gender violence seems to be that SPA has embraced the cause of women wholeheartedly and openly, while UKA fails to relate to such cause and seems reluctant to differentiate violent crime committed within intimate relationships from other assaults. In view of this scenario, the present study aims to depict how the subject of gender/domestic violence is actually verbalized both in SPA and UKA from the point of view of genre analysis. The procedure will consist in providing a description of the lexical choices made in either law, analysing their different macrostructures and studying the way in which each of the Acts relates to its subject through the deployment of specific interpersonal mechanisms. The analysis of two laws on domestic violence As stated above, studies on the differences in structure, grammar and the role of legislation in Spanish and English ! as such, or more generally regarding the Continental law and Common law systems !  have already been tackled by several authors, but no specific scrutiny has been undertaken on the legislation concerning the subject at hand. With the aim of comparing how differently legislation deals with the subject of gender/domestic violence in the United Kingdom and Spain, the present research firstly examines the lexical choice mechanisms at work in both Acts that could present any bias as regards how each instrument conceives the concept of gender/domestic violence. Secondly, the macrostructural distribution of either Act is scrutinized from a discursive perspective, the macrostructure being the supraorganisation of the text which reflects how the conventionalised social knowledge at the disposal of the discursive or professional community is organized (Bhatia, 1993). Thirdly, and finally, the analysis focuses on the examination and classification of the metadiscourse markers deployed in both Acts from a pragmatic angle. These markers constitute the set of strategies that reveal the existence of an interpersonal relationship, a dialogical framework between the writers and the readers of texts (Hyland, 2005; Dafouz, 2008, among many others). However,  this research will explore how interpersonal relationships are established between law-makers and law-takers through the deployment of different metadiscourse mechanisms. These three levels of analysis should lead us to the conclusion that the drafting of these Acts reflects cultural and linguistic differences that pertain to the asymmetries between the two legal systems, also revealing how the subject is contemplated in the English and Spanish contexts. 1.1. The lexical study The SPA and the UKA are two corpora made up of 16,575 words and 18,153 words, respectively. The data were gathered using MonoConc, a fast concordancer utilized for the automatic analysis of texts in many different languages. The software produced wordlists of the word types with the highest frequency counts, being adjusted to only mine content words and exclude function words such as determiners, pronouns and finite verbs, as well as modal verbs. In terms of the total number of words used to convey meaning in our corpus, the overwhelming majority were nouns, mainly in the Spanish corpus, the English one showing the occasional appearance of verbal forms like ÔdischargeÕ, Ôconvict(ed)Õ and ÔpleadÕ. Nominal preponderance is in line with the results obtained in other studies that show how, in specialized discourse, information is represented mainly by nouns, this being more characteristic of Romance languages (Fuertes-Oliveira and Arribas Ba–o, 2008). In accordance with the results rendered, the word types were divided into two groups: those terms that make up the legal lexicon covering different legal areas and those belonging to the specific field of gender/domestic violence. Legal terminology could be subdivided into highly technical terms, which can rarely be found outside legal texts (e.g. ÔestoppelÕ, ÔacquittalÕ, ÔlienÕ) and sub-technical ones (e.g. ÔsentenceÕ, ÔconvictionÕ, ÔguiltyÕ), whose frequencies and distributions both in the general and the technical environment are similar, tending to activate new specialized meanings when in contact with the specific environment (Mar’n, 2014; 2016). Following Tiersma (1999), this is precisely one of the major characteristics of legal discourse (Tiersma, 1999). Coupled with the fully automatic processing of the corpus, those terms activating a specific meaning in the domain of genre/domestic violence were traced and tagged manually (e.g. ÔprotectionÕ, ÔsafetyÕ, ÔgenderÕ, ÔconflictÕ, ÔfamilyÕ). Nonetheless, even if these terms could be conceived as subtechnical, in the present paper a decision was made to treat them separately, since they seem to form a compact group in the corpus, being associated by virtue of the specific topic, that which the law wishes to regulate. In line with Fillmore«s frame semantics (1982), this special subgroup
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