The heuristic value of the term ‘homophobia’ has been highly criticized in literature. Nevertheless, the word has known a relevant institutional and popular success, working as an ‘umbrella’ concept also for a growing bulk of psycho-sociological research. Recently, taking in account its ambivalence, researchers focus more and more on the performative effects of (anti)homophobia discourses, policies and practical uses, independently from ‘expert’ codifications. This paper moves in the same direction, investigating the trajectory of the neologism ‘omofobia’ in the most widespread national newspaper (‘Il Corriere della sera’). We collected a sample of 422 articles, going from 1979 (first appearance) until the end of 2007 (its ‘consecration’). Through this period we follow two well known processes: the shift from grassroots activism to mainstream politics, on one side, and the ambivalent framing of ‘homophobia’ into a ‘urban crime’ debate, on the other. Applying both content and discourse analysis, we discuss the ambivalent effects of (anti)homophobia appropriations by different ‘communities of interpretation’. The analysis has detected a plurality of voices and meanings, but also temporary convergences on quasi-hegemonic practical definitions. Results concern two parallel and related levels: first, we observe how the strategic use of public alarms, and a particular political configuration, created a space to ask for more protection by the state for Lgbt subjects. Second, we consider how ‘(anti)homophobia’ was progressively declined in a hate crimes paradigm, while entering in the political field, with very relevant consequences for its normative re-interpretation.

Narrating Homophobia In Italy. Institutionalization of a neologism between 1979 and 2007

GUSMEROLI PAOLO
2017

Abstract

The heuristic value of the term ‘homophobia’ has been highly criticized in literature. Nevertheless, the word has known a relevant institutional and popular success, working as an ‘umbrella’ concept also for a growing bulk of psycho-sociological research. Recently, taking in account its ambivalence, researchers focus more and more on the performative effects of (anti)homophobia discourses, policies and practical uses, independently from ‘expert’ codifications. This paper moves in the same direction, investigating the trajectory of the neologism ‘omofobia’ in the most widespread national newspaper (‘Il Corriere della sera’). We collected a sample of 422 articles, going from 1979 (first appearance) until the end of 2007 (its ‘consecration’). Through this period we follow two well known processes: the shift from grassroots activism to mainstream politics, on one side, and the ambivalent framing of ‘homophobia’ into a ‘urban crime’ debate, on the other. Applying both content and discourse analysis, we discuss the ambivalent effects of (anti)homophobia appropriations by different ‘communities of interpretation’. The analysis has detected a plurality of voices and meanings, but also temporary convergences on quasi-hegemonic practical definitions. Results concern two parallel and related levels: first, we observe how the strategic use of public alarms, and a particular political configuration, created a space to ask for more protection by the state for Lgbt subjects. Second, we consider how ‘(anti)homophobia’ was progressively declined in a hate crimes paradigm, while entering in the political field, with very relevant consequences for its normative re-interpretation.
2017
ABSTRACT BOOK. 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association. (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3398432
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