Queer Kinship: Affects, Families, Bonds

Activity: EventsConference


In recent decades, critical, cultural, political and legal discourses on the family
have undergone significant shifts leading to new perspectives on the ways in
which societies conceive of, recognise and experience affective bonds. New
legislation, such as civil partnerships, same-sex marriages and increased access
to technologies of reproduction, have enabled new family forms to be established
and legitimised. Cultural representation of these new families has increased their
visibility and shone new light on “alternative” affective forms of co-existence.
However, the queer family is not a new phenomenon, and many modalities of
queer kinship, beyond legal family structures, or the pervasive norm of the
‘couple’, have existed for a considerable time: these include, for example, socalled romantic friendships, Boston marriages, polyamorous communities, queer
kinship groups, fillus de anima and many other different forms of affective ties
that may change across the life course. Due to discrepancies in law and
problematic socio-cultural attitudes, certain forms of queer kinship, or kinships
between certain individuals, are more culturally accepted and officially
recognised than others, resulting in intersectional discrimination.
While there is a significant body of academic work that explores some of these
questions from a sociological, anthropological and legal perspective, as yet there
is little sustained analysis of the developing cultural discourses and representation
both in individual contexts and across national linguistic and social contexts. The
transcultural and transnational circulation of discourses on queer families and
kinship has yet to be fully assessed and investigated. A deeper understanding of
these cultural discourses, in relation to their socio-cultural, political and legal
context, is crucial to improving our awareness of the experiences, knowledge,
innovative practices and wellbeing of those who choose to diverge from the script
of the heteronormative family.
This international conference aims to open up a space for critical debate on these
issues and to develop interdisciplinary scholarly networks. It is the first of three
conferences on this theme that will be held in 2024-2025, in Siena (Italy),
Birmingham (UK) and Toronto (CA). The three conferences constitute different
stages of a research project on affective bonds and queer families from an interand transdisciplinary perspective, which seeks to identify emerging trends in
cultural representation, and to develop new methodologies for analysing sociocultural and discursive phenomena in a plural, multicultural and inclusive optic
Period9 Apr 2024
Event typeConference
LocationSiena, ItalyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • queer kinship
  • non-normative relationality
  • migrant
  • second-generation
  • LBT
  • Families