Accepted Paper:

Waiting for a law: narratives of negotiation and dissent in contemporary Italy  


Marina Franchi (London School of Economics)
Giulia Selmi (University of Verona)

Paper short abstract:

A heated debate on the legal recognition of same-sex couples is occupying once again the Italian public sphere. Drawing on interviews to Italian LGB the paper investigates how individuals frame the impact of the law (or lack thereof) on their organisation of intimacy and kinship.

Paper long abstract:

In the context of Southern Europe Italy represents a peculiar situation in relation to the legal recognition of non-heterosexual relational claims (Santos 2013). Since 2015 a heated political debate is occupying once again the public sphere, at the dawn of a parliamentary vote of a bill on the recognition of relationships outside the heterosexual marriage. Public and political discourses are occupied by a notion of the natural family fostered by Catholic ideology and defended by political parties across the spectrum. At the same time, Italy is also characterised by profound changes of public attitudes with regard to same-sex couples and homoparentality. Mainstream LGBT groups have campaigned since the early 2000s for the recognition of de facto unions while queer and radical groups began to question the centrality of marriage in the claims for recognitions. The aim of this paper is to investigate how LGBT and queer individuals frame the impact of the law (or lack thereof) on their organisation of intimacy, kinship, as well as the ways in which they navigate the constraints of the law in their daily life experiences. In particular, first it explores how different political affiliations (i.e. belonging to mainstream LGBT movement vs. radical queer groups), age, and parenthood intersect and impact on individual narratives of kinship formation, and affect intimate practices. Second, it questions how these narratives negotiate the public debate on sexual citizenship. It draws on 30 in-depth interviews carried out with 30 gay, lesbian, and queer in 5 urban centers in Italy

Panel P011
Family and kinship in contemporary Southern Europe: transformations, convergences and variations in a macro-regional perspective