MANCEPT Workshop on Justice and the Family

September 11, 2023 - September 13, 2023
MANCEPT, University of Manchester

United Kingdom

View the Call For Papers

This event is available both online and in-person


University of Amsterdam
University of Birmingham

Topic areas

Talks at this conference

Add a talk


Justice and the Family

Conveners: Gulzaar Barn (University of Amsterdam) and Areti Theofilopoulou (Czech Academy of Sciences)

Call for Abstracts:

There exists a long philosophical tradition of exploring the role that the family has in upholding societal injustice, from Plato, through to Engels, and Sophie Lewis’ recent call to arms, Abolish the Family. These theorists have in common the idea that nuclear households are channels through which wealth and property are amassed, and thus have a role in upholding inequality. The family has also been used by social contract theorists as a model for understanding the origin of the state and its relations with its subjects, with Hobbes claiming cities and kingdoms “are but greater Families.” For John Rawls, the ‘monogamous family’ is one of the major institutions comprising the basic structure of society, and feminist theorists like Susan Moller Okin have extended the Rawlsian paradigm to address inequalities surrounding domestic labour and childrearing. The family, therefore, has been of utmost importance to theorising about justice, and we seek to continue this tradition by bringing together scholars working from diverse viewpoints in this area.

We seek to engage with theoretical questions surrounding the nature and justification of the family, as well as how the family ought to be structured and regulated. Such questions concern parent-child relationships, relationships between adults, as well as the effects of different family structures on society. Such questions have far-reaching implications for social policy. Thus, we are also interested in more practical discussions on whether and how the state ought to intervene in the family, whether alternative family structures (e.g., institutional non-parental care) are required by justice, and whether and which assisted reproductive technologies ought to be available.

We invite submissions on any issue related to the family as a site of justice. Potential topics could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Family abolition, reform, and defence.
  • The contingent nature of the nuclear family (cross-cultural and non-Western analysis welcomed).
  • The standing and justification of alternative modes of kinship.
  • Reproductive technologies and the role they play in upholding genetic connection and the nuclear family, and corresponding assessments on their justifiability.
  • The choice to have children in the context of looming climate catastrophe.
  • Whether justice requires state intervention in the family.
  • Parental partiality, equality of opportunity, and the transmission of advantage
  • A child-centred upbringing.
  • The permissibility of passing religious or ideological values onto one’s children.
  • What constitutes abuse and neglect in parent-child and adult relationships.
  • Emotional abuse and neglect in parent-child and adult relationships and their peculiar wrongs.
  • The wrongness of a dysfunctional upbringing.
  • The intrinsic goods of childhood.

Our preference is to hold the workshop entirely in person, but we will make a final decision about format once we have assessed submissions and spoken to participants about any special circumstances they might have. 

Abstracts should be around 500 words, prepared for blind review, and sent to both [email protected] [email protected], by May 14th. 

If you are a graduate student, MANCEPT have a number of fee-waiver bursaries which you can apply after acceptance (the deadline is the 27th of June).

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.