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Lecture 7

Lecture 7.docx

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Francisco Villegas

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Lecture 7 Families and generation  How we do we define families? o Biological kinship o Love and respect o Emotional relationships  How are definitions of families and their members normalized? o Culture  Role  Mother  Father  Children o Nuclear  How do state institutions affect families? o Insurance (covering only family members) o Rights in hospitals o Marriage laws (same sex marriage now legal in certain countries, what age you can get married at) o Regulation of adoption (not allowing single mothers to adopt, must be a married couple) o Taking away children if they don‟t think you‟re a good parent  How does the labor market affect families (from last week)? o Unsteady income o Access to resources  How do we imagine children in society? o Future generation of carrying what we pass on o Have to be nurtured to develop into adults o Passing down of culture, norms, morals, values, ideologies Grekul: Sterilization in Alberta  Scholars, including Grekul, tie sterilization campaigns to eugenics.  What is eugenics? o Promoting a certain race o Tied to social Darwinism  Theory that species who weren‟t fit enough to compete in the world would die off  1883: Francis Galton coined eugenics to refer to „good breeding‟.  Ideas of biological determinism tied to scientific racism (like begets like)  Emphasis in producing fit members of society  Ideas of who was “unfit” influences b social relations at the time o Relied on ideas of gender, race, class and age Histories of sterilization  U.S.: over 30 jurisdictions implemented sterilization programs, some beginning…?  In Canada, Alberta & B.C has such programs, although albert was the most comprehensive From eugenics to sterilization  Precursors o Early 1990s: campaigns to require mental health testing before receiving a marriage license  Focus then became sterilization o Campaigns from different groups including the Unites farm women of Alberta  Why is the role of women in these campaigns important?  Feminist organizations  “global sisterhood o All women faced a shared oppression. o Inherent in this sisterhood was a hierarchy that privileged middle class, European or North American white women. o At the same time that they were fighting for equality in terms of gender, women were also creating other forms of oppression  Victorian era: “cult of domesticity o Women were told that they had prominent societal role of taking care of the home and raising future citizens (racialized and classed)  Some birth control advocates were also involved n the eugenics movements o Margaret Sanger  Canadian feminists also involved, e.g. Nellie McClung  Alberta: 1928 Sexual Sterilization Act. o Law overseen by Eugenics Board of Alberta (4 members) o Allowed for the sterilization of inmates of mental health institutions  In 1937 the law was amended to permit the sterilization of some individuals without consent  The 1950s were the peak years of the Alberta program, long after the popularity of eugenics wand (esp. after WWII)  Why? o Highly conservative government in Alberta o Elected government officials were also religious leaders o Economic boom that distracted citizens  Grekul argues that certain groups were overrepresented in sterilization cases. Who were they? o Women o Aboriginals o Teenagers and young adults o The poor  Grekul also argues that there were age differences and gender differences in the reasons why individuals were presented for sterilization o Children more often diagnosed as „mental defectives‟ o Women faced high probability of presentation o More men that women diagnosed as „mental defective‟ o What did the last two imply in terms of the reason why women were overrepresented?  Shifted emphasis from genetic to environmental „disorders‟ after WWII  Women were not identified as „abnormal‟ in the psychiatric sense but in the social sense o E.g. family history, (perceived) promiscuity, performance in school o P. 91 o Even the “potential for sexual activity” (p. 92)  How does sterilization produce a specific notion of the family, and who is eligible to engage in the reproduction of that family ideal? o Middle class, upper class adults o Whites o 2 divisions  one group has access and can create a family while the other group can‟t. Lenon: Marrying citizens! Raced subjects? Re-thinking the terrain of equal marriage discourse  Lenon is interested in analyzing how “appeals to a universal gay/lesbian…  What did she do? o Analyzed legal submissions from successful British Columbia and Ontario equal marriage cases o And a submission from Egale (a national organization that advocated rights of LGBT) to the House of Commons Standing committee on Justice and Human Rights  Lets begin with the concept of heteronormativity?  What is it?  “Social practices that promote heterosexuality are enforced by agents of socialization that include: the family, schools, religious organizations and places where people work”  Heterosexuality seen as the norm  Other sexualities are “deviant”  Heteronormativity, and therefore, heterosexuality, are not “natural” or “essential” characteristics of humans.  They need to be activity maintained and supported.  Lenon: “if marriage laws need to be buttressed with the phrase „opposite- sex‟, then apparently heterosexuality is not natural enough to do without reinforcement”  Bill-C 38, which changed the legal definition of civil marriage to include same sex couples, was therefore a victory in destabilizing heteronormativity.  However, Lenon tells us, we need to pay attention to what other power relations were involved in the passing of this policy (e.g. an integrative analysis)  First we need to investigate the role of
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