European Sociological Association Conference, Murcia, Spain Sept 23-26 2003


 The research network on families and intimate lives address research on family as a social formation in contemporary society. The research of interest includes the varieties of family formations and living together in private lives in contemporary society, thus including cohabitation, marriages, same sex couples, reconstituted families, lone mothers and lone fathers. The ambition is to put together researchers that are interested not only in the micro-sociology of families but also in the inter links between social structure, culture and organisation of close relationships in accordance with gender, class and ethnicity

 As topics for sessions we suggest:


1. Families in poverty – policy and strategies

Poverty strikes essentially two types of families ,the ones whose head is unemployed and one -parent families whose head is a woman .

In western Europe more than 80% of one -parent families have a woman at their head and the problems get more dramatic when they happen on already fragile ground, the one of women having less stable jobs and who earn less money thn men . Moreover there is a general problem with the non payment by the men of the alymony.

 It is urgent to develop a European coherent family policy. oriented towards better  employment,better health care, more time for parents to assure the double life and better centers of care for children after school.


 2. Families, work and social policy

Balancing family and work is a prompting issue in an incresing number of families in Europé today. Flexibilisation in working life has not necessarily been adapted to the needs of families. Men and women have different approaches to work and family balance. For this session papers adressing problems of balancing work and family from a gender perspective are welcome. Of special importance is that the problems discussed also include work place policies and public policies with the aim to reconciliate family and work.


3. Rupture and violence

Divorce and separation is a growing phenomenon all over Europe. Family relationships, in particular parental responsibilities don’t disappear after dissolution of families. There is a great need to understand the different ways in which families and societies deal with conflicts, and problems related to separation. Family violence is often related to processes of separation and divorce. In this session we ask for papers dealing with prevalence studies on family violence Further we welcome papers dealing with relationships between parents and care givers after family dissolution. 


4. Families, Ageing and Intergenerational Relationships
(joint session with RN Ageing in Europe)

Living arrangements and relationships with family members across generations are closely bound up with ageing. Papers in this session could consider emerging family forms; Expectations of relationships with family and friends and how these influence identity and status; value differences between generations - aspects of gender, class and etnicity. Conflicting demands on family members in relation to gender, class and ethnicity.  Transfers of economic, practical and emotional support between generations. What impact do new family relationships due to changing family forms have on support between generations.


5. Transmissions between generations.

This session will have a focus on transmission of economic and social capital and support to children and young persons. What is the role of the family for persons who have undergone socially upward or downward mobility?  How are migration families dealing with transmissions of values and support between generations? 


6. Sexuality, gender and family

Since the years 1960 ,feminist analysis has insisted on the fact that sex apartenance is physically determined while gender is determined by culture.

J.Butler (1990) claims that evenif sexes appear to be binary in their morphology and in their constitution there is no reason to assert the same thing for genders.Indeed there can be many different masculinities and feminities which create multiple relationships between sex ,gender and desire .

For Butler the heterosexual  drive comes from the fact that sex and gender are put togethether and that the binary structure of gender finds its accomplishment in heterosexuality.The heterosexual matrice should be denaturalized.In looking in the work of Foucault,Levi-Strauss ,Freud for instance one can see that most theoreticians have appeal to culture in order to confirm the sexual system presently dominant

Under this session wi ask for papers on family relationships between persons of same sex.pattersn of sexuality and the role of sexuallity in family


7. The concept of Intimacy

Intimacy imposes itsel directly as a closure .Indeed nobody in principle enters our intimacy except those who are invited to share our secrets.

There are differents forms or degrees in intimacy :the personnal intimacy ,i.e; the relationship that we have with our own body and our thoughts,family intimacy that we share with our companion and to some extend witt the  children and finally the intimacy we have with friends and even strangers(EX:prostitution).The interest of studying family life through the concept of intimacy lies in the fact that intimacy is not granted ,it requires for people who share their intimacy to be equal which is not yet true for men and women..There is also the fact that more and more today people are craving for some private

life ,public life getting difficult and intrusive.With the concept of  intimacy we are reading Simmel again and its famous concept of secret ,so important for him in personal relationships because it was the key for autonomy.



Deadline for submitting an abstract is end of February  2003. An abstract of about 150-250 words should be sent to the relevant RN co-ordinators by Feb 28th 2003. We will notify acceptance of papers by May 30th 2003.

For submitting an abstract, we strongly urge you to use the form for electronic abstracts. The abstracts will be recieved by both the organizers and the coordinators.



 Registration should be made on the form at:


        Please note that a reduced rate conference fee is available for those registering by June 15th

        2003. More information concerning the conference will be available on the same website. ( 





Co-ordination committee

Co-ordinator:, Department of Sociology, Göteborg University, Sweden Bernadette Bawin-Legros, Liège, Belgium Leeni Hansson, Institute for International and social Studies at Tallinn Pedagogical University, Estonia, Christina Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland R. Scramaglia, IULM University, Italy Lluís Flaquer, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain