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Relationships Beyond the Couple: Queering Family Law

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Birkbeck, University of London

Room 101, 30 Russell Square

Malet Street

London

WC1B 5DT

United Kingdom

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Relationships Beyond the Couple: Queering Family Law
An Interactive Socio-Legal Methods Seminar

Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR) in collaboration with Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality (BiGS)

Speaker: Frederik Swennen, University of Antwerp and Visiting BISR Research Fellow

Chair: Daniel Monk, School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London

Family laws around the world generally confine the legal recognition of voluntary relationships between adults to formations fitting the mould of the ‘Sexual Family’: a cohabiting sexual couple not related by blood or law. Personal life nonetheless comprises various queer formations which do not meet the standards of cohabitation (e.g. LAT-relationships, friendship), dyad (e.g. polyamory) or sexuality (e.g. co-housing of related or unrelated adults). Those formations remain invisible before the law and are not recognized substantively or symbolically. Whereas queer approaches have been proposed from both social theoretical, empirical and legal perspectives, those proposals generally remain empirically uninformed on the legal consciousness, practices and expectations of the adults concerned. Possible socio-legal methods strategies to gain insight in, and theorize on, the desirable legal protection beyond the couple will be discussed during this seminar. This Seminar aims at active participation from socio-legal scholars, some of which will present their own experiences after the introductory paper.

Frederik Swennen is a professor of law and holds the chair of family & kinship studies at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) since 2002. He is a Visiting Fellow at BISR until May 2017, and will be working with Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality (BiGS) during his stay. His Fellowship aims to apply socio-legal methods to his sabbatical research leave project “Rethinking the Horizontal Family”. He aims to empirically ground and theoretically inform his legal research into adult relationships beyond coupledom.

BiGS provides a forum for innovative interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange in gender and sexuality studies. It brings together scholars working in the arts and humanities and the social sciences and encourages dialogue with practitioners in the creative industries as well as with non-academic constituencies.

BISR is the focal point for social research at Birkbeck and a hub for its dissemination and discussion in London and beyond.

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Birkbeck, University of London

Room 101, 30 Russell Square

Malet Street

London

WC1B 5DT

United Kingdom

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