striges EN

Atelier Genre(s) et Sexualité(s) « The promises & pitfalls of the EU’s international promotion of LGBTI rights »

by Markus Thiel, Florida International University

Despite ongoing challenges, the EU is not only a major actor on the world stage, but it also emphasizes human and LGBTI rights in its internal and external policies, thus setting a powerful example for the acceptance of LGBTI individuals worldwide. While this establishes the EU as a normative actor from a liberal human rights perspective, a number of disputes over those policies have emerged in bilateral relations between the EU and other states in recent years. Given Europe’s colonial history and the fact that the bloc is collectively the world’s largest provider of development aid, it is important to methodically interrogate how the EU and its member states promote LGBTI rights internationally. This project detail the emergence of such rights norms as a hallmark of a generalized EU human rights policy and postulates that the EU’s engagement with other states is compromised as certain preferential foreign policies such as market access or political and development aid are often conditioned upon the implementation of Western-style LGBTI rights. These may not always be appropriate given different cultural and political contexts, and reinforce the impression of an interventionist, paternalistic SOGIE rights promotion. Drawing on a critical constructivist International Relations framework combining sociological institutionalism and queer theory, I examine the tensions between the EU’s promotion of LGBTI rights and the ensuing pushback by cultural and political conservative states inside and outside of the Union.

Markus Thiel is associate professor in the Department of Politics and 
International Relations at Florida International University, Miami and director of FIU’s Jean Monnet Center of Excellence and FIU’s European & Eurasian Studies Program. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Miami in 2005 and has published several EU-related articles and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, his research on the political sociology of the EU produced the monograph, ‘The Limits of Transnationalism’ (Palgrave, 2011), and 4 co-edited volume on: ‘Diversity and the European Union’ (Palgrave, 2009), ‘Identity Politics in the Age of Globalization’ (Lynne Rienner/First Forum Press, 2010), ‘European Identity & Culture: Narratives of Transnational Belonging’ (Ashgate, 2012) and ‘Sexualities in World Politics: How LGBTQ Claims Shape International Relations’ (Routledge, 2015). Most recently, he published a book on the linkage of European transnational NGOs with the EU Fundamental Rights Agency: ‘EU Civil Society and Human Rights Advocacy’ (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017). The latest forthcoming co-edited volume ‘EU Development Policies between Norms & Geopolitics’ will appear with Palgrave later this year.

Monday 1st October, 5 pm – 7 pm

Salle Henri Janne (15e étage)
Institut de Sociologie
Avenue Jeanne, 44
1050 Bruxelles

Free entry