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Gender, Technology, and Law: Constitutional Law and Discipline: Fundamental Rights as a Technology of Power

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This Gender, Technology and Law session will be animated by Dr. Stefano Osella (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology) and is entitled: Constitutional Law and Discipline: Fundamental Rights as a Technology of Power.


The session is free to attend but registration is required. To register, please fill in the registration form. Should you face any difficulties with your registration, please send an e-mail to Olga Gkotsopoulou (LSTS) or Carlotta Rigotti (FRC).



In the presentation, Stefano will address why the Italian Constitutional Court requires trans people to transform their physical, psychological and behavioral characteristics in order to obtain the legal recognition of their gender identity. Furthermore, he will discuss how such a doctrine is implemented. Examining the case-law of the Constitutional Court and of the Court of Cassation in light of queer theory, Stefano will argue that such requirements are intended to benefit the “certainty of legal relations”, a “principle” which, in this specific context, has a paramount connection with the preservation of the heterosexual matrix of family law. Through a Foucauldian analysis of a consistent sample of decisions by courts of first instance, he will demonstrate that the application of such requirements amounts to the exercise of a specific technology of power: discipline. In short, Stefano argue that the doctrine of the Italian Constitutional Court entails the establishment of a disciplinary apparatus, which defines binary gendered subjects in order to maintain the heterosexuality of family law. 


Speaker's bio:

Stefano Osella is a Research Fellow in the Law & Anthropology Department of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. Previously, he was a Post-Doctoral Global Fellow at NYU Law School in New York. He holds a Magister Juris from the University of Oxford, and an LLM and a PhD in Law from the European University Institute in Florence. Stefano's main research interest relates to how individual identity is constructed in and through the law. Inspired by his academic and activist experience and personal interests, his investigations focus on how the law defines discrete gender and sexual identities, and how such definitions impact, practically and emotionally, the lives of people for whom such definitions are coined, primarily LGBT and intersex people. Geographically, he concentrates on continental Europe, specifically Germany, Austria, France, and Italy. His research has appeared in the International Journal of Constitutional Law, Bulletin of Latin American Research, Revista Espanola de Derecho Constitucional and Quaderni Costituzionali. He has published blogposts and op-eds in Italian and Spanish.