The Political in the Personal: Families and Sexualities in Times of Social Change in Europe
Interdisciplinary Research Center on Families and Sexualities (CIRFASE)
University of Louvain (UCL)
Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 26-27 April 2018
Ken Plummer, University of Essex, UK
Judit Takács, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary
Roman Kuhar, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Surya Monro, University of Huddersfield, UK
Ana Cristina Santos, University of Coimbra, Portugal
This conference seeks to explore diverse forms of intimacy and family, particularly in relation to LGBT and other non-normative sexualities. We seek contributions highlighting how personal lives are embedded in the public and the political, and how changes in the wider context affect these expressions of gender and sexual identifications and influence family relations and structures. We particularly welcome papers situating their analysis within a temporal dimension or providing comparative or transnational perspectives.
Against the backdrop of the late-modern trends of individualization, the matters of choice and identity are increasingly shaping the debates and regulations related to the body, reproduction and intimate relationships. In Europe, various nation-wide surveys testified to the often liberalizing shifts in public opinion related to gender and sexuality. Likewise, many European countries have recently experienced expansions of rights related to, for example, access to reproductive technologies and adoption, recognition of same-sex unions and legal gender recognition.
These developments have led some to believe that the achievement of gender and sexual equality in Europe is inevitable. However, recent years have also witnessed a rising of resistance to this end, with gender and sexuality issues increasingly forming the backbone of morality politics and “cultural wars” across Europe. Debates about reproductive rights, same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting or trans rights increasingly lead the public to question the definition and nature of men and women, sex and gender, marriage and family. The perceived degradation of the “natural” gender and sexual order and the perceived threat to the traditional models of marriage and family have led to a conservative backlash, often in the form of anti-gender mobilizations and legislation that backtracks on certain developments (e.g. limiting previously wider access to assisted reproduction) or imposes new restrictions (e.g. amending constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman).
All these developments shape the public discourse and impact the socio-institutional contexts within which individuals with non-normative gender and sexual identifications live their lives and form their families. Their bodies, identities and partnerships are made the object of public and political debates and are subject to expanding or shrinking of rights. In this conference we will explore such links between the private and the public / political along various tracks. We are interested in contributions from all over Europe that tackle these diverse issues related to non-normative sexualities and families. The topics of the papers may range widely including, but not being limited to the questions below.
- How are personal biographies, and the stories of changing intimacy and family relations, embedded in a wider social context?
- How are the changes in societal attitudes affecting personal lives of individuals and their family formations?
- How do States, religion or civil societies re-define or shift the boundaries of the personal and the public?
- How do regulations of body and partnerships affect personal trajectories of individuals, particularly considering freedom of movement and migration?
- How are family relations affected by expressions of non-normative sexual and gender identifications?
- How are family and personal lives affected by cultural or institutional diffusion of norms, including the Europeanization process?
- How are family and personal lives affected by conservative mobilisations, both at the local and the transnational level?
We invite applications from scholars from social and political sciences who engage with these and similar topics. We particularly encourage early-career researchers and PhD students to submit their empirical contributions.
Organization of the Conference
The conference is organized by the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Families and Sexualities (CIRFASE) at the University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium). The official language of the conference is English.
The format of the conference will accommodate two types of presentations:
A) Regular Presentations – Presentations no longer than 15 minutes that will be presented during the main panels of the conference. All interested participants are welcome to apply, regardless of their career stage. The participants presenting in regular panels will not be required to submit full papers before the conference.
B) Doctoral Students’ Workshop – This section of the conference is open only to doctoral students who are invited to give a 15-minute presentation focusing on the issues and dilemmas they encountered in the analysis and the interpretation of their data. These presentations will be followed by discussions of these issues with the conference discussants. The participants presenting in this workshop will be required to submit the full papers to the discussants before the conference.
The doctoral students applying for the conference can choose whether they would prefer to present in the regular panel or in the workshop dedicated to doctoral students’ papers.
The presenters will be selected based on the submitted abstracts.
Your proposals should include:
a) your full name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation,
b) the title of your paper
c) and a 250 words abstract in English with 5 keywords.
d) The type of presentation (regular panel or PhD workshop)
e) If you would like your final paper to be considered for publication after the conference
The proposals should be submitted using this form.
Application deadline: 15 January 2018
Notification of acceptance: By 15 February 2018
Conference dates: 26-27 April 2018
The conference will be held at University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
There is no registration fee. Participants are kindly requested to make their own accommodation and travel arrangements. The conference will be open to public.