Conceiving Life : Reproductive Politics and the Law in Contemporary Italy book cover
1st Edition

Conceiving Life
Reproductive Politics and the Law in Contemporary Italy

ISBN 9781138266933
Published November 15, 2016 by Routledge
124 Pages

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Book Description

This volume examines the evolution of reproductive law in Italy from the `far west' of the 1980s and 90s through to one of the most potentially restrictive systems in Europe. The book employs an array of sociological, philosophical and legal material in order to discover why such a repressive piece of legislation has been produced at the end of a period of substantial change in the dynamic of gender relations in Italy. The book also discusses Italian policy within the wider European policy framework.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: conceiving life in law; Law, gender and nation in contemporary Italy; Rethinking reproductive freedom: the case of abortion; Vitapolitics: the campaign against reproductive choice; The embryo's sovereign power; Reformulating reproductive citizenship; Bibliography; Index.

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Patrick Hanafin is Director of Research at the Department of Law, Birkbeck College, UK.


'The question at the heart of this book - how and why women’s bodies emerge as sites of conflict about nation, community and identity - is an important and timely one. Hanafin’s response, arrived at through an analysis of the evolution of the law regulating reproduction in Italy, will offer much of interest to anyone who cares about law and gender, reproductive rights, or national identity.' Sally Sheldon, Kent Law School, UK 'Conceiving Life is an excellent example of the important intersections between politics, religion, civil society, gender, and the law. Not only does Hanafin's work demonstrate a contribution to the aforementioned fields, but it also highlights the usefulness of a comparative approach to the study of law. Although firmly rooted in feminist theory, he shows a complex application of all these fields to his explanation for how regressive policy can be established in times of social progress.' Law and Politics Book Review '...interesting and engaging...a useful catalogue of shifting and sometimes conflicting currents in modern Italian thinking about the position of women in terms of their reproductive rights.' Journal of Law and Medicine