Dr Valeria Venditti
School of Society, Politics and Ethics
I did my PhD on marginalization and inclusive European policies at Sapienza University of Rome in collaboration with the Centre of Law and Cosmopolitan Values in the Faculty of Law at the University of Antwerp. In 2017-2018 I was affiliated as a member of the Reseach Project Primus/HUM/15 at the Charles University (Prague). In 2016-2017 I was awarded a yearly Postdoc Research at the School of Law of the University of Glasgow. I am a member of the research group POLITESSE (Research Centre on the Politics and Theories of Sexuality) at the University of Verona and part of the Editorial Board of Politica&Società. I am a Honorary Fellow in Bioethics. Since 2015, I regularly hold seminars and workshops at Sapienza University of Rome and Università degli Studi Roma Tre.
Outline of Project
This project explores a paradox that arises when human rights provide a solution to certain cases of social injustice. In particular, it homes in on the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population. I will begin by addressing a question that has gained centre-stage in the field of sexuality and queer studies, that is, whether or not the acquisition of rights that recognize the unions of the LGBT population transforms their perception of personal identity, including their conception of ‘relationship’. It is what scholars call “normalization”: a progressive adjustment to mainstream sexuality and therefore the erosion of the more defiant understating of sexuality that characterized erstwhile LGBT struggles.Based on this analysis, I will examine the claim that even if rights confer a series of material and symbolic benefits (such as visitation rights, pension rights, family and medical leave, rights and obligations with regard to children and others), the normalization that comes with rights risks intensifying existing conditions of injustice. For in order to acquire rights, LGBT people have to conform to standards that imply the adoption of particular relational modes and ways of living which characterize conventional relationship models – in particular, people’s commitment to monogamy, reciprocal loyalty, stability and durability. I will then explore two aspects of this paradox. First, on a practical level, this conferral of rights only recognizes certain relationships that are deemed to be more tolerable and “respectable”. Second, on an epistemic level, this hampers the emergence of new relational forms that are less conventional, and furthermore that legal and policy measures are less and less able to capture. I will conclude by advocating an alternative notion of rights conferral based on a different conception of legal recognition that emphasizes the epistemic and practical performances of subjects developed through their own relationships.