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Sexual Citizenship and Reproductive Rights: Creating Dialogue Between Feminist and Queer Politics

Publié le 9 septembre 2013 Mis à jour le 29 septembre 2023

9 septembre

Organisé avec le séminaire Genre et Politique de l’Association belge de science politique.

Mary Bernstein & Nancy Naples
(University of Connecticut)

ULB, Institut de Sociologie, Salle Henri Janne (15ème étage)

This paper examines the contradictions of the claims for sexual citizenship by gay male and infertile heterosexual couples that includes demands for the legalization of international commercial surrogacy. What do we make of this complicated colonial and capitalist political claim when the owners of the means of production are women with less resources, and therefore, less choices than those who are making claims to their bodily labor? The child born to a surrogate mother in another country is essentially “stateless”. They are not considered citizens of the country of their birth nor are they automatically granted citizenship by the nation in which their commissioning parents reside. By applying a postcolonial feminist materialist lens to the problematic of transnational commercial surrogacy, the limits and possibilities of a socially just approach to sexual citizenship and reproductive rights is brought into view. This also offers a form of intersectional praxis that is open to revision as the complexities of transnational politics and the context of economic globalization and postcolonial realignments changes.

Mary Bernstein is Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut. Her scholarship seeks to understand the role of identity in social movements and how movement actors interact with the state and the law, with a particular focus on the LGBT movement. She has published numerous articles in the fields of social movements, sexualities, gender, and law and is co-editor of three books: Queer Families, Queer Politics: Challenging Culture and the State (Columbia University Press, 2001), Queer Mobilizations: LGBT Activists Confront the Law (NYU Press, 2009) and The Marrying Kind: Debating Same-Sex Marriage Within the Lesbian and Gay Movement (University of Minnesota Press, 2013). Recent publications include “What Are You? Explaining Identity as a Goal of the Multiracial Hapa Movement” (Social Problems); “Identity Politics” (Annual Review of Sociology); “Paths to Homophobia” (Sexuality Research and Social Policy); “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained? Conceptualizing Social Movement ‘Success’ in the Lesbian and Gay Movement” (Sociological Perspectives); and “Culture, Power, and Institutions: A Multi-Institutional Politics Approach to Social Movements” (co-authored with Elizabeth Armstrong, Sociological Theory). Recent awards include the Outstanding Article Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements (2009). She is currently deputy editor of the journal Gender & Society. Nancy A. Naples is professor of sociology and women's studies at the University of Connecticut where she also directs the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. Her research on citizenship, social policy, feminist methodology, immigration, and community activism has been published in numerous journals and edited books. Her scholarship includes over fifty book chapters and journal articles. She is author of Grassroots Warriors: Activist Mothering, Community Work and the War on Poverty and Feminism and Method: Ethnography, Discourse Analysis and Activist Scholarship; editor of Community Activism and Feminist Politics: Organizing Across Race, Class, and Gender; and co-editor (with Karen Bojar) of Teaching Feminist Praxis; Women's Activism and Globalization: Linking Local Struggles and Transnational Politics (co-edited with Manisha Desai); and The Sexuality of Migration: Border Crossing and Mexican Immigrant Men by Lionel Cantú' (with Salvador Vidal-Ortiz). She is series editor for Praxis: Theory in Action (State University of New York Press) and New Approaches in Sociology: Studies in Social Inequality, Social Change, and Social Justice (Routledge).