Reproductive discrimination and resistance in Italy
Italy is a paradigmatic example of what is called lowest-low fertility regime (with postponement of motherhood over 31 years; and fertility rate at 1.35). In this scenario, practices, desires and reproductive representations are strongly changed: if the desired number of children is two the actual number, over the years, it becomes one (46%) or zero. The choice of only child becomes an “reproductive ideal” in a society characterized by the neoliberal register that emphasize the precariousness and inequality. But in sometimes it embody new model of parenting and couple relationships (Parisi, 2007).
In Italy, the lowest-low fertility regime must come to terms with a procreative politics that increase a “Stratified reproduction” (Ginsburg, Rapp, 1995). The legal landshape elicits age, sexual orientation, bi-parenting, class and nationality as a tool to institutionalize social exclusion of “undesired” reproductive subjects. In 2014 the ART’s law changes but continues to exclude homosexuals and singles from reproductive rights; in 2016 same-sex civil unions become legitimate but parenthood remains forbidden for homosexual individuals. The reproductive governance is supported by governmental rhetoric that proposes fertility as “the essential need for the whole society”, a kind of biopolitics based on patrimonization of procreation.
The paper, is based on the data of two ethnographic researches, one on low fertility and change in reproductive culture (ELFI- Explaining Low Fertility in Italy) and one on reproductive discrimination of homosexual individuals. In the first section I will explore how “Stratified reproduction”, in the scenario of low fertility regime and in a context of neo-liberal politics, produce an opposition between desirable/non-desirable, legitimate/non-legitimate “reproductive subjects”. In the second section the focus on one side is on a resistance performed against the legal process of reproductive exclusion and the other side, explore the way the individuals and couples struggle to achieve their reproductive rights are interplays with reproductive citizenship.
Rosa Parisi is Lecturer of European Ethnology and Migration Studies at the University of Foggia, Italy. Currently, she is engaged in field researches on family changes, reproductive culture, and reproductive policies. Particularly on homoparentaling, low fertility and reproductive donors in Art’s. Her recent publications Practices and rhetoric of migrant’s social exclusion in Italy: intermarriage, work and citizenship as devices for the production of social inequalities, in Oso L.,Grosfoguel R.,Christou A. (eds.), Interrogating Intersectionalities, Gendering Mobilities, Racializing Transnationalism,London: Routledge, 2017, pp. 110-120; Uno sguardo antropologico sulla famiglia che cambia, in Giacalone F. (ed.), Il tempo e la complessità. Teorie e Metodi dell’antropologia, Milano: Franco Angeli, 2017, pp. 152-179. Fare famiglia in regime di bassa fecondità: un confronto fra le generazioni, in Fornasin, A., Claudio Lorenzini (eds.), Per una storia della popolazione italiana nel Novecento, Udine: Forum, 2017, pp. 359-368. (With Simonetta Grilli) New Family Relationships: between Bio-genetic and Kinship Rarefaction Scenarios, in Antropologia, Numero tematico At the Heart of Society: Anthropological Legacy and Human Futures, 2016, 3(1) pp. 29-51. (With C. Alvares Plaza C., Marìa E. Olavarrìa) Repensando El Feminismo: El Debate De La Gestación Subrogada En España, Italia Y México (on referee processes, DADA. Rivista di Antropologia Post Globale).