Possible Ties: Researches and Instruments for Social Services Working with LGB Families

The lesson will present the research process and main results of Family Lives, a multiple method research in collaboration with UC Berkeley on making kinship in contemporary Italy among same-sex parents and their children. Our aim is to explore the “visibility work” these households develop to assert themselves as families, and the ways such processes are shaped by daily practices within the social environment.
More precisely, we will discuss two key issues:

– The role of the social representation of the “good parent” as a widespread and powerful narrative both within the homophobic rhetoric and the militant LGB environment. We will account for its use in the process of negotiating parenthood against the social context – especially the institutional one – by analysing how the traditional narrative about family and parenting is both a tool against the public recognition of LGB parents and a frame in which these families reconfigure children and partners’ belongings and bonds with their relatives and other significant social actors.

– The legal Italian situation that, by denying same-sex couple’s rights to filiation, creates a gap between daily family practices and the institutional ones. Since no a-priori image or role is available, parents are always “at work” to assert and explain themselves to bridge this gap.

To conclude, we will discuss how the above-mentioned issues impact on the process of queering parenting in Italy. Visibility for these families is bounded to some constrains depending on the specific sociocultural and legal context. In such a scenario queering parenting is not designed as a linear process moving from tradition to innovation, but as a much more complex movement which requires to reshape and rename existing elements. In this process of social creation, the relationship between visible/invisible, hidden/disclosed may open up a novel symbolic space for LGB people and their children.

With Federica de Cordova and Chiara Sità – University of Verona

PhD Room (ground floor, Palazzo Zorzi)
Lungadige Porta Vittoria 17 – Verona