Department of Ethnic Studies - College of Letters and Science - University of California, Berkeley

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CRSC Colloquia Series - When States 'Come Out': The Politics of Visibility and the Diffusion of Sexual Minority Rights in Europe

Thu, Oct 6, 2016, 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Phillip M. Ayoub, PhD, Assistant Professor of Politics, College of Arts and Sciences, Drexel University

When States ‘Come Out’: The Politics of Visibility and the Diffusion of Sexual Minority Rights in Europe


 In the last two decades, the LGBT movement has gained momentum that is arguably unprecedented in speed and suddenness when compared to other human rights movements. This talk investigates the recent history of transnational movement in Europe, focusing on the diffusion of the norms it champions and the overarching question of why, despite similar international pressures, the trajectories of socio-legal recognition for LGBT minorities are so different across states. In this talk, I suggest new domestic preconditions and international pathways for socio-legal change. I make the case that a politics of visibility is central to norm diffusion. The exchange of ideas with other countries—which activists can broker and enable—and the extent of a state’s openness to international organizations have demonstrable effects on diffusion and social change. They have engendered the interactions between movements and states that empower marginalized people - mobilizing actors to demand change, influencing the spread of new legal standards, and weaving new ideas into the fabrics of societies. 

Co-sponsored by Center for Race & Gender Social Movements Working Group and Institute of European Studies