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Thinking “autonomy” in democratic contexts: a semantic approach to militant practices

IPSA political science

Conférence – XIInd Congress of Political Science (International Association of Political Science)

8-12 juillet 2012 – Madrid

The post-war era witnessed the emergence of new social movements in the “age of autonomy.” Within this cognitive framework, militant discourses produce and reproduce the political principle of autonomy as a semantics based on recognition, justice or equality, and visibility, thus participating actively in the institution of democratic society. Democracy promotes forms of civic participations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) activism. An empirical theoretical approach to LGBT activism in France and in Italy makes it possible to theorize in relation to the complexity of democratic processes leading to collective action and the semantics of autonomy as a cognitive framework .

Homosexuality and identity are discourses on autonomy producing semantic fields of democracy. This political analysis of homosexuality and identity as democratic semantics engenders a new definition of social movements as collective practices intended to advance the discourse on democracy. The semantic approach to militant practices captures the conditions for the emergence of LGBT movements, and more generally of civic movements, as well as the semantic scope of autonomy in democratic contexts.

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