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Mediated tensions: Italian newspapers and the legal recognition of de facto unions

Franchi, Marina (2015) Mediated tensions: Italian newspapers and the legal recognition of de facto unions. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

The recognition of rights to couples outside the institution of marriage has been, and still is, a contentious issue in Italian Politics. Normative notions of family and kinship perpetuate the exclusion of those who do not conform to the heterosexual norm. At the same time the increased visibility of kinship arrangements that evade the heterosexual script and their claims for legal recognition, expose the fragility and the constructedness of heteronorms. During the Prodi II Government (2006-2008) the possibility of a law recognising legal status to de facto unions stirred a major controversy in which the conservative political forces and the Catholic hierarchies opposed any form of recognition, with particular acrimony shown toward same sex couples. Corriere della Sera and la Repubblica, the two newspapers with the highest circulation in Italy, covered at length the disputes that ensued from the proposal. This thesis focuses on the analysis of the two newspapers and uncovers the ways in which they produced narratives that both sustained the exclusion of those who do not conform and potentially fostered a space for its disruption. In so doing the thesis aims to add a further dimension to the body of work investigating the politics of sexuality in contemporary Italy. A systematic reading of the press coverage reveals how the newsworthiness of the conflicts enhanced the visibility of those who opposed the law in turn sustaining the construction of it as a contentious issue. The close analysis of a selection of texts reveals the media ambivalence in displacing conservative notions of family and kinship and their contribution in fostering narratives that sustain exclusion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Marina Franchi
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Gender Institute
Supervisor: Wearing, Sadie and Perrons, Diane
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3268

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