• Nonconventional forms of intimacy and migration: towards a micro-situated and emotion-based model of social inclusion

      Pratesi, Alessandro; University of Chester (2014-06)
      A growing literature on same-sex parenthood supports the argument that nonconventional forms of intimacy and care represent an opportunity to explore possible venues of resistance against macro-structural forces while at the same time avoiding marginalisation. My findings from a previous research on family care conducted in the US show that same-sex parents, by gaining social visibility, enriching and changing the possible definitions of family and parenthood, and challenging hegemonic sexualities, simultaneously distance themselves from homonormative definitions of family and marginalising definitions of cultural citizenship based on hegemonic heterosexuality. The theoretical framework of my research drew on those aspects of the sociology of emotions that, in explaining how feelings can reproduce social stratification, connect micro- and macro-levels, making intimacy, care and emotion central to understand how situated interactions reproduce social structure. Migrant LGBT people share many of the issues and concerns of heterosexual migrant people who are forced to live separated from their partners and/or families, but their experience can be made more complicated by their sexualities, biographies and histories. Their (private) stories and experiences are not only relevant to them, but also to the wider communities of migrant people and to their civil, legal, social and cultural rights. The right to visibility, the right to dignifying and dignified representation, the right to affirmation of identity, and the right to appreciation and valuing of differences also apply to many other forms of cultural citizenship currently denied. The relatively invisible experiences of LGBT transnational families may have therefore important implications in terms of social change and citizenship. Situating the debate of LGBT citizenship within the context of migration allows us to overcome misleading dualisms between marginalisation and incorporation and to look for anti-assimilationist strategies of inclusion. Thus, the nonviolent, micro-situated and emotion-based model of social change represented by these cultural entrepreneurs can perhaps be exported to other social groups, contexts and settings, creating the foundations for more caring, more just and more inclusive societies.