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Decolonising Families and Relationships

A symposium organized by the BSA Families and Relationships Study Group

22 January 2021
UCL London

About the Event

The aim of this one-day symposium is to bring together scholars working on families and relationships to share experiences, promote mutual learning and encourage development in the decolonisation of our subject area. The study of ‘the’ family has long been critiqued for its heteronormativity, whiteness and reproduction of specific, privileged family forms. In recent decades, families and relationship scholarship has expanded and adapted to these challenges, attending to an increasingly diverse range of relationships and non-normative households. However, progress has been slow, and overall, research remains predominantly white in its focus, and citation practices indicate the privileging of male scholars from the global north. As Gurminder Bhambra (2008) points out, sociological imaginations are limited when they are premised on Eurocentric assumptions. As part of the endeavour for ‘connected sociologies’, this event will explore new ways of thinking about and understanding families and relationships by drawing on global knowledge, and by examining the forces which have shaped our scholarship. In doing so, we will explore new avenues which challenge expectations of what families are and what they do, drawing on marginal experiences and voices, in ways which situate ’British sociology’ within the international milieu.

Call for Papers

We therefore seek contributions which expand sociological imaginations by: presenting research findings which complicate the white, heteronormative, nuclear understanding of families; methodological and theoretical approaches that contribute to the decolonising of families and relationships research; sharing scholarship from beyond the global north; or by (re)visiting and challenging the Euro-American dominance of our research area. We anticipate producing an edited volume, special journal issue or teaching resource from the workshop – we welcome any ideas from participants.

To submit a paper:

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to Dr Julie Walsh along with a bio of 150 words, by Friday, 14 August 2020. Please submit your abstract and bio as one Word document attached to your email. We will notify applicants of our decisions on individual paper proposals by the end of August 2020.

The event will take place in UCL London on Friday, 22 January 2021.

Please note: We will facilitate video presentations and live streamed Q&As with presenters who would prefer to participate remotely. Please make a note in your submission if you would like to take advantage of this opportunity.


  • BSA Member: £15
  • Non-Member: £20
  • Concessionary Member: £5
  • Full-time Student Non-member: £7.50