How have Italian feminists shaped Italian Abortion Law and how has that engagement shaped the politics of abortion in Italy?

Lead Research Organisation: University of Kent
Department Name: Kent Law School


How does law meet feminism (and vice versa)? How is it possible to give a "legal
shape" to choices, bodies and desires? How could a new legal grammar of bodies be
redrawn? Could law interpret a maternal desire as a childfree choice? In asking and
answering these profound questions, which have long formed and dictated the
relationship between women as legal subjects and law, my thesis seeks to investigate
how past and contemporary feminisms engaged and are engaging with law and how
feminists have been shaping the politics of abortion in Italy.
The goal of my research is to investigate these questions within the broad field of
feminist jurisprudence. It is well understood in feminist and legal literature that the
modern relationship between feminism and law1
is strictly connected with control of
women's reproductive bodies, and this nexus continues today with new questions
involving abortion and reproductive technologies.2
The aim of my study is to scrutinise
how these practices are conditioned by law, yet made complex by feminism, focusing
on the Italian experience. Indeed, Italy represents an unicum as regards these very
sensitive issues because of the strong influence of the Roman Catholic Church in the
Vatican, and also for the predominance of the "sexual difference" current of thought in
Italian feminism. I will argue that reanimation of the peculiarly Italian "thought of
sexual difference" offers much to discuss when it comes to contemporary legal
problems in Italy concerning many women. In doing so, I suggest that paying attention
to Italian feminist jurisprudence - little translated and understood outside of Italy and
uninvestigated even in Italy where feminist legal studies are almost nonexistent in
academia - can contribute to a desire in contemporary feminist jurisprudence to respond
to women's legal struggles as diverse and non-universal.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00072X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2111776 Studentship ES/P00072X/1 15/09/2018 30/09/2022 Elena Caruso