CfP: Marriage (Publication: M/C Journal); DL: 12.10.2012

M/C Journal Special Issue (Web)

The question of what ‚marriage‘ is, and what it is capable of becoming, has increasingly become a hot topic across many countries. In Australia, a key turning point occurred when the then Howard goverment amended the Marriage Act to explicitly restrict marriage to the union of one legally recognised man to one legally recognised woman (a fact that has significant implications for those whose natally-assigned identity does not accord with their actual identity, as well as ’same-sex‘ couples). In response to this, and echoing successful (and unsuccessful) movements in other countries, legislation is now being presented to both State and Federal Parliaments seeking to allow same-sex (or ‚gay,‘ in some popular iterations) marriage to be legalised in Australia.

This restriction on, and petition for access to, marriage in Australia highlights something of the polarised nature of debates over marriage in this country. This plays out in many ways across a range of communities, such as when political parties take positions on what marriage is or ought to be – and on whether it is a matter of public morality or individual conscience. In regards to those excluded from marriage, some lobby governments for access to marriage, whilst others critique such lobbying for failing to challenge the privileging of particular kinds of relationships in regards to, for example, the racialised, classed, sexed, sexualised and normalising effects of marriage. And of course some (typically religious) groups lobby governments to maintain marriage as a heterosexual, reproductive institution, the alleged cornerstone of a stable society.

At the same time as these polarising debates go on, weddings and marriages remain sites of intense affective and consumerist investment. Pop culture continues to return to engagements, marriages and weddings, often thereby revealing contemporary anxieties about sex, gender, love, intimacy and relationships. The wedding industry has taken off, with large sums of money spent in producing one ‚perfect day‘. In the cultural imaginary, marriage remains, at least ideally, a key step in the imagined trajectory of an individual’s life.

This issue of M/C Journal seeks to provide a forum for accessible but critical discussions of the current imagining of marriage. Papers might seek to provide an account of the current ‚marriage equality‘ movement in Australia or elsewhere, critical engagements with such movements, discussion of the interplay between the institutional and personal investments in concepts of marriage, discussion of marriage’s current form as depicted in filmic, televisual or other texts, discussion of the continuing affective investment in marriage, or any other critical reading of marriage and the debates that surround it in Australia.

Prospective contributors should email an abstract of 100-250 words and a brief biography to the issue editors. Abstracts should include the article title and should describe your research question, approach, and argument. Biographies should be about three sentences (maximum 75 words) and should include your institutional affiliation and research interests. Articles should be 3000 words (plus bibliography). All articles will be refereed and must adhere to MLA style (6th edition).

• Article deadline: 12 Oct. 2012
• Release date: 12 Dec. 2012
• Editors: Jess Cadwallader and Damien Riggs
Please submit articles through the website.

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