CFP: family and sexual mobilizations – and Religious and secular female participation

At the annual conference of the Italian Society for Political Science (15-17 September 2016), there will be two panels on Family and sexual mobilizations, included in the section “Participation and Social Movements”, and one panel on Religious and secular female mobilizations, included in the section  – deadline for paper submission is June 5th at this url.


Panel 6.6 The Family as a Bone of Contention in 21st Century Europe
At the beginning of the 21st century, Europe is witnessing an increasing number of controversies and debates involving ethics and religious values. On the one hand, faiths globalization and immigration flows have increased the continent’s religious pluralism, giving rise to controversies related to dress codes, places of worship, dietary prescriptions and other issues; on the other, the secularization of society as well as technological improvements have stimulated the development of controversies related to issues such as abortion, euthanasia and other ethical issues. Many controversies, however, are related to another field, which seems to be increasing gaining relevance, with a cluster of controversies related and different visions of family and gender roles.
Among these controversies, a major role has been played by the debates about LGBT rights, mainly because of a real revolution which in a couple of decades has swept western Europe, with the legalization of same-sex partnership and even, in many countries, with the utter recognition of marriage equality for heterosexual and homosexual couples. This development, and the debates connected to it, has given rise to several movements and groups active in the public sphere: on the one side, LGBT organizations and other (mainly secularly-oriented) groups favourable to marriage equality and to the recognition of LGBT rights; on the other, (mainly religiously-oriented) groups aiming at defending a ‘traditional’ idea of family based on marriage between man and woman. Moreover, the clash between these two positions has given rise to side debates which have gained relevance in the latest years, such as the controversy about the promotion of tolerance, rather than the promotion of ‘traditional values’ in public schools.
The panel welcomes both in depth single-case studies devoted to such issues, as well as broader comparative works that take into account the discursive, political, and legal opportunity structure that influence the actors’ strategies in different contexts.

Chairs: Alberta Giorgi, Luca Ozzano

Panel 6.7 Intersecting conservative and progressive sexual mobilizations
In the context of an extension of the democratic field to sexual issues, European social movements studies have often focused on sexual minorities movements, and particularly on the relationship between activist, political and institutional actors. In recent years, conservative movements that contest the sexual order and changes of the contemporary family configurations, not necessarily defined in terms of the so-called “natural” family, have occupied also a growing number of scholars. But rarely, researchers of conservative and progressive movements gather together in order to hold a comparative analysis of this specific form of collective action.
Considering recent debates and conflicts about the recognition of the same-sex couples and family rights, we seek to investigate, in particular:
– Mediation and negotiation processes between activist, political and institutional fields, and therefore strategies of (de)legitimation of the actors and their claims;
– Dynamics of circulation, translation, appropriation and re-signification of the collective action models between field conservative and progressive fields (movement-countermovement dynamic);
– Logics of politicization of sexuality, that is not only homosexuality but also heterosexuality that is not conceived as the universal model anymore but became, like homosexuality, a politicized identity.
Thus, the panel Intersecting conservative and progressive sexual mobilizations intends to investigate new forms of politicization of sexuality, from the point of view of political participation and social movements, opening a comparative analysis on several models of progressive and conservative mobilizations based on national, transnational and international case studies. Therefore, this panel aims at promoting a dialogue between Italians and European researchers on sexual movements, either their work on sexual minorities movements, on conservative counter and anti-movements, or both in a comparative perspective.
Chairs: Martina Avanza, Massimo Prearo

Panel 13.3: New Forms of Religious and Secular Female Participation in the Mediterranean Region
Women, gender roles, and female participation in the public realm recently rose to prominence as key issues to investigate the current social and political transformations in the Mediterranean region. From the 1980s, a wide literature (Arat 2012; Saktanber 2006; Cooke 2007; Zayzafoon 2005; Ask and Tjomsland 1998) has explored women’s participation and/or mobilisation within Islamic movements and parties. Moreover, the debates over the “Islamic feminism” (Mernissi 1991; Badran 2009; Moghissi 1999; Braidotti 2008; Moghadam 2002) enriched the picture by directing the spotlights on the redefinition of gender roles within religious circles, parties and institutions.

Besides such a religiously motivated female engagement, the heterogeneity of women participating in social and political movements all over the MENA region gained the interest of scholars who analysed women’s activism in protests, especially during the so called “Arab springs” (Khamis 2011; Bennoune 2012). Five years after the revolts, women’s political and/or religious engagement turned to be either silenced, eclipsed by state repression, or transformed: women’s militancy being institutionalised, included within state bureaucracy; or rather represented by associations closed to –unless embedded with– the governments (Göçmen 2014). Yet, it was exactly from these precarious and evolving niches that women find their ways for expressing their public role, in some cases in the context of new institutional arrangements related to the religion/state boundaries.
In the light of these considerations, the categories of mobilisation and participation seem indeed inadequate both at the theoretical and practical levels. Hence the necessity to focus on the everyday experiences of women engaged in movements, parties, NGOs, institutions in the Mediterranean region. The panel invites contributions that critically call into questions the forms and meanings of female engagement in the religious and secular public realm. In particular, it analyses the scope and scale of female participation by asking: How concretely does it occur? Which factors/actors contribute in enhancing it? To what extent the current political and social transformations have contributed in redefine it?
Designed as a space of dialogue and encounter, the panel promotes original models of interpretation based on different contexts and experiences. It strongly welcomes contributions based on empirical researches (both single cases studies or larger analyses), envisaging an interdisciplinary perspective and employing ethnographic and comparative methodologies.

to submit an abstract (max 500 words) follow online instructions:
for more information:

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