A critical anthropology of family differences: looking from the margins

Taking inspiration from two recent ethnographic works, by Corinna Sabrina Guerzoni (University of Bologna) and Alice Sophie Sarcinelli (Université de Liege), the research centre PoliTeSse – Politiche e Teorie della Sessualità organises the seminar “A critical anthropology of family differences: looking from the margins”.

Basing on their research experiences, the multidisciplinary team of FamilyLives and PoliTeSse will dialogue with the authors on the epistemological and methodological aspects of engaged research, starting with some questions. What impact does it have, in the research process, to assume as an interpretative key the political dimension that objects such as the family, childhood, parental ties assume? And what are the effects at a time when the gaze that captures them cannot be said to be neutral? What are the challenges from a methodological, ethical, professional point of view? And how can engaged and deconstructive research provide keys to interpretation and concrete intervention tools for professionals working in the services?

Corinna Sabrina Guerzoni recently published “Sistemi procreativi. Etnografia dell’omogenitorialità in Italia” (Franco Angeli, 2020), dealing with the complex and articulated journey LGB intended parents face travelling abroad to create a form of parenthood that has no place in Italy. Navigating through the procedures of fertility centres and the multiplicity of voices involved in the construction of same-sex families (intended parents, egg donors, sperm donors, women carriers), the work focuses on parenthood as the outcome of real procreative systems, transformative processes that affect those who choose to be, more or less consciously, the creators and propagate their effects in the socio-cultural context of reference.

Alice Sophie Sarcinelli’s book “Des gamins rom hors-de-l’enfance. Entre protection et exclusion” (Éditions des Archives Contemporaines, 2021) starts from an ethnography inside the Roma camps in Milan. She defines Roma children as “out-of-childhood” (hors-de-l’enfance), that is removed from the moral ideals that should characterise this period of life. The anthropological gaze makes it possible to deconstruct a naive vision of this stage of life, which ceases to be an intimate space, charged instead with a specific political value. The intimate life of children is made meaningful by the actors who act around them and for them (families, as well as activists, childcare and social workers etc.), in an ambivalent dynamic of assimilation and exclusion from the social body. The spatial, moral and political margins within which Roma children are constrained serve to exclude undesirable parts, but also to transform those who are foreign bodies into “civil” citizens, developing a reflection on the mechanisms of exclusion and protection of certain categories of “out-of-childhood” children and the re-education of their “failing” parents, which goes far beyond the case of the Roma minority.

Participants: Federica de Cordova (Università di Verona), Corinna Sabrina Guerzoni (Università di Bologna), Alice Sophie Sarcinelli (Université de Liege), Giulia Selmi (Università di Verona), Chiara Sità (Università di Verona).

The seminar will be held in Italian.


Poster Seminar

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