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Queering Paradigms IV

South-North Dialogues on Queer Epistemologies, Embodiments and Activisms

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Edited By Elizabeth Sara Lewis, Rodrigo Borba, Branca Falabella Fabrício and Diana de Souza Pinto

South-North Dialogues on Queer Epistemologies, Embodiments and Activisms is composed of research presented at the fourth international Queering Paradigms Conference (QP4), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In line with the QP project ethos of bringing together diverse epistemological and geographical allegiances, this volume intends to contribute to building a queer postcolonial critique of the current politics of queer activism and of queer knowledge production and circulation. However, rather than perpetuating the North-South dichotomy, the papers gathered here are an effort to establish global dialogues that crisscross those axes, as well as attempts at queering epistemologies, socio-political bonds, and bodies, embodiments and identities. They endeavour to trouble unequal geographies of knowledge – namely the North as an exporter of theories and the South as their importer; the North as a producer of knowledge and the South as its object of study – hosting enormous potential for reinvention.

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Bloodless and Lawless: Queering “Family” in Social Work Discourse

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← 66 | 67 → CASSIE PETERSON

American Social Work is a pervasive and ever-extending discipline that aims to ameliorate social ails. Through every facet of its utility and application, social work in the USA has an enduring history and unequivocal commitment to working with families and has often been on the forefront of advocating for alternative family arrangements. Currently, in American society at large, LGBTQ families are gaining more political visibility and lobbying for rights and protections from which they were previously excluded.

Therefore, this chapter is an analysis of social work’s contemporary, defining representations of LGBTQ families. The “methods” section of this chapter will demonstrate how twelve LGBTQ “family” research studies were culled from a popular database, Social Work Abstracts, and subjected to queer discourse analysis in order to illuminate how these alternative family forms are being constructed within the discipline and thus disseminated in the wider public. The “findings” section will detail the multiple ways in which heterosexual norms are still privileged throughout social work research studies. For example, this chapter will highlight how the heterosexual family is often constructed as an unchallenged index for psychological health, appropriate partnering and child rearing practices, social acceptability, and general normative behavior. Therefore, LGBTQ relationships often earn their “family” designations by their ability to approximate these legible, heteronormative “family” characteristics. As such, this analysis will discuss the ways that LGBTQ subjects are ultimately invited to join, but not to change, the traditional terms of “family”, thus making social work...

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