CFP: MANCEPT Workshop 2023 - Intimacy and the State

Submission deadline: June 1, 2023

Conference date(s):
September 11, 2023 - September 13, 2023

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Topic areas


This workshop will explore the tangled relationships between the state and our intimate lives. We hope to better understand the variety of ways that governments regulate intimacy, and to consider the normative implications of their interventions. In particular, we hope to explore the tension between the idea that the state plays a necessary role in ensuring our intimate relationships are not harmful or dominating, and the idea that state intervention is invasive, constraining, and violates liberal neutrality. We will explore criticisms of current aspects of state oversight, proposals for new forms of regulation, and visions of intimacy beyond regulation. 

Some of these questions are abstract: should the state seek to regulate intimacy at all? How extensive is the private sphere? Is oversight of intimate life compatible with neutrality on conceptions of the good? But some questions are more specific and concern the specific form of the state’s role. Should plural marriage be permitted? Does the state have duties towards friends? 

We are particularly interested in submissions which explore how the state structures intimacy in ways other than marriage. Sex work is often discussed as a domain of concern, but other areas of importance in relation to intimacy include: the legal frameworks around human resources and work, immigration, education, and the regulation of dating apps. 

We invite abstracts of no more than 500 words, for a presentation of approx. 30 minutes on the following questions, or on any other topic related to this theme:  

* Should the state regulate intimate life?

* Is there a right to an intimate relationship or to sex?

* Does the state have a duty to promote or support intimate relationships?

* What form, if any, should marriages take? 

* How would intimacy be regulated in a marriage-free state?

* Should people be able to form their own intimacy contracts? 

* What is the moral status of sex work?

* How, if at all, should sex work be regulated? 

* Do immigration laws acknowledge the kinds of human intimacy that matter?

* What role can the state play in reducing intimate domination?

* Should the state be concerned with inequality in intimate relationships?

* Does the state have a duty to help people form relationships? 

* Can the state do more to safeguard the right of exit from relationships? 

* Should we have a right to recover from breakups or divorce?

* Would a Universal Basic Income improve our intimate life?

* How should intimacy be taught in state education? 

* How should employers approach intimacy between workers? 

* Should the state regulate dating apps?

* How should the state regulate pornography?

We actively welcome in-progress work and seek to foster a friendly and collaborative environment. PhD, post-docs, and ECR are especially welcome. We are also receptive to interdisciplinary explorations of these ideas, provided they are accessible to the non-specialist.

Please email your abstract to [email protected] or [email protected] by the end of the day on 1st of June.  

We will notify successful applicants by the 13th of June. If you are a graduate student, MANCEPT have a small number of fee-waiver bursaries which you can apply after acceptance (the deadline is the 27th of June). 

NB you will need to register for MANCEPT to attend this event, but the registration date has not yet been specified. 

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