CFP: Diverse families, one law?

Submission deadline: March 30, 2020

Conference date(s):
April 19, 2021 - April 20, 2021

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Conference Venue:

Institute for Philosophy, University of Bern
Bern, Switzerland

Topic areas


Keynote: Elizabeth Brake

Today’s families differ widely in their form, internal organisation, lifestyle and values. At the same time, liberal states are in need of binding rules that serve to protect individuals’ and particularly children’s rights. Challenges arise when liberal values or socially recognized norms conflict with particular ways of organising family life, for instance, when some religious groups adhere to hierarchical gender roles in families that seem to thwart women’s equality. Furthermore, fast-paced changes in family structures as well as the expansion of reproductive technologies require answers from political philosophers and legal theorists on the question of how family diversity should be legally regulated.

This conference will focus both on foundational questions regarding the concept and value of the family and on applied issues such as parents' rights in the context of religious education and the legal recognition of alternative family forms.

Questions to be explored include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In the face of increasing family diversity, does it make sense to retain the concept of the family? If so, what defines the family?
  • On what basis should parental rights be granted, and what do they include? Should a number of parents greater than two and/or parents with differential sets of rights and duties become a possibility?
  • What rights do parents have to influence their children to adopt particular religious views or other conceptions of the good?
  • Should co-parenthood be legally divorced from marriage?
  • Should alternative relationship and family forms, such as polyamorous marriages, receive legal recognition?

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send an anonymised abstract of no more than 500 words, as well as your contact information in a separate file, to [email protected]by 31 March 2020. For any questions, please also contact Sabine Hohl.

Speakers’ travel costs within Europe and their accommodation will be covered. Due to budgetary constraints, we can cover intercontinental flights only to a limited extent.

Organisers: Anna Goppel and Sabine Hohl, Institute of Philosophy & Interfacultary Cooperation “Religious Conflicts and Coping Strategies”, University of Bern

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