Online Launch Event of the Research Group CISG (Contemporary Intimacies, Sexualities and Genders)

Dear all,

We are proud to host the internationally renowned scholars Prof Diane Richardson (University of Newcastle, UK)and Dr Ana Cristina Santos (University of Coimbra, Portugal) to speak on current perspectives within intimate and sexual citizenship studies.

You are cordially invited to attend the Online Launch Event of the Research Group CISG (Contemporary Intimacies, Sexualities and Genders).

CISG is part of RCASS, the Research Centre for Applied Social Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

It has formed to explore and host critical debates around current issues around intimacies, relationships, sexualities, genders, bodies and the politics around them.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm (BST)

Please, find details of the programme for our first event and book your free ticket via eventbrite:

Joining details will be confirmed by email to registered attendees closer to the date.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the launch event.

Please, feel free to disseminate widely via your links and networks.

Kind regards,

Christian Klesse and Jenny van Hooff (Co-Leads of CISG)


Special Issue 2021- Call for papers

Georg Simmel and Love

The German philosopher and sociologist, Georg Simmel is considered one of the founders of sociology and culture studies. Thanks to the variety and vastness of his work, his thought has influenced and shaped the work of many social scientists.

Throughout his career, Simmel wrote regularly on issues concerning women, sexuality and love. An essay “On the psychology of Women” appeared in 1890, followed by brief newspaper pieces and popular journal articles on the women’s movement in 1892, 1894, and 1896. A newspaper piece on “The Role of Money in the Relations between the Sexes” appeared in 1898. Two years later, these ideas were incorporated in “The Philosophy of Money” in which he included a discussion on the monetary valuation of women, marriage and prostitution. A preliminary sketch of his text “Female culture” appeared in 1902. This was followed by some remarks on the psychology of women, notes on the ideal of a philosophy of love, and a preliminary version of the essay “Flirtation”. Whilst some ideas presented within these texts open intellectual doors others are highly questionable.  

The “Fragment on Love”is a paper left unfinished by Georg Simmel and published posthumously under this title. According to Simmel, love is one of the forms that life takes that can turn into a higher goal than life itself.  The link between life and love allows Simmel to approach and combine his Lebensphilosophie with social reality. Love allows two individuals to turn their differences into a unity. Love partially dissolves individual life in favor of something superior, a super-individual level. Therefore, Simmel believes that love creates a dynamic process transforming both partners. In its history, love has gone through different forms (expressions), reaching from Platonic love over the universal love towards humanity, and Christian love, to modern love; in particular, the character of modern love appears to be more dynamic.

Today, love has taken on a different role. Its romantic form has become intertwined with capitalist consumption and enriched by visual imagery from films and series. They shape expectations for Valentine’s Day and anniversaries, and create an artificially sweetened and stilted image of love. While the media continues to project a false version of romance, in our everyday relationships we have become increasingly skeptical when it comes to love. Love seems to appear as a sociological problem, and maintaining close relationships in a modern, individualized society has become even more complicated. There seems to be a gradual decline of traditional relationships between men and women. New forms of relationships and new trends in love that are much more flexible and self-centred have emerged in recent years with the advent of new technologies, social struggles and access to new possibilities of love.

This call for papers invites contributions that reconstruct and interpret Simmel’s vision of love and – relying on his contribution- reflect and interrogate the following contemporary topics: love relationships and modernity, the reconfiguration of male/female roles, the role of love in today’s society, a Simmelian perspective on love in times of pandemics, love and female emancipation, sex and Eros, flirtation and love in today’s cultural frames outside/beyond western society.

Proposals must be written in English. Abstracts of 400 words, for 5,000-8,000 word submissions, should be sent to the following email addresses: paulina.sabugal[at], sseebach [at]

Closing date for abstracts submission: Apr 30th 2021

Notification to the authors: until May 31th 2021

Articles submission deadline: Jul 10th 2021

Articles assessment: Aug 10th 2021

Final version submission: until Sep 10th 2021

Publication: Dec 2021 For more information on Simmel Studies:

Unhappy Ending. Poems for the Broken/Hearted is now available!

Poetry artbook by network member Ania Malinowska & Pola Dwurnik:Unhappy Ending. Poems for the Broken/Hearted is now available!

Unhappy Ending. Poems for the Broken/Hearted is a poetry artbook depicting the morphology of a heartbreak. It maps the stages and structures of torment brought on by the collapse of love as well as sharing the epiphaniesthat emerge from the pain of a breakup. Created over the course of four years in the style that the authors term “high pulp”, the artbook narrates an emotional journey across the void of a broken heart, and describes a search for rebirth which that experience invariably induces. It also maps different locations – from New York to Katowice to Warsaw to an American desert – where the poems and drawings came to be. Far from the imagery of drama traditionally associated with the topos of lost love, the book playfully dignifies unhappy endings.

Unhappy Ending. Poems for the Broken / HeartedPoems: Ania Malinowska

Drawings: Pola Dwurnik

Graphic design by Ania Malinowska & Tomasz Gałdyński

52 pages, hardcover

Print run: 500 copies

Distribution: Bęc Zmiana, Warsaw

New member of the network

Please welcome the newest member of the Love Research Network:
Paulina Sabugal has a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the University of Pisa.
She works as Teaching Assistant at Pisa University and collaborates with the European University Institute and the Historical Archives of the European Union in the framework of its educational programme organised in collaboration with FMA, the Former Member Association of the European Parliament. Her PhD project was on love and migration, specifically, the case of Mexican women who migrate to Italy because they fell in love with Italians. The axis of her work was studying love as a social category. In her research, bicultural couples became a kind of micro laboratory that allows to explore and to discuss dynamics of exclusion, discrimination, racism and integration in the context of the migration phenomenon. At the same time, this case study has allowed her to consider the cultural practices that are maintained and the ones that are lost during the migration process, besides discussing modern love and the market of affections in a globalized world through marriage, family, sexuality and gender roles. Over the years, she has investigated these questions on fieldwork in Italy, Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. Areas of Interest: Migration Studies, Identity and belonging, cultural representations and signifying practices, narrative research, ethnographic methods, love and society, gender and mobility.

New publications

We would like to draw your attention to:

LGBT ‘Communities’ and the (Self-)regulation and Shaping of Intimacy Eleanor Formby…/10.1177/1360780420974031

Reclaiming the Second Phase of Life? Intersectionality, Empowerment and Respectability in Midlife Romance Sarah Milton, Kaveri Qureshi…/10.1177/1360780420974690

Discordant Expectations of Global Intimacy: Desire and Inequality in Commercial Surrogacy Kristen E Cheney…/10.1177/1360780420984169

Traditional Inequalities and Inequalities of Tradition: Gender, Weddings, and Whiteness Julia Carter…/10.1177/1360780421990021

Does Love Always Come Before Marriage?

William Jankowiak & Alex Nelson

Arranged marriages and love marriages are sometimes seen as cultural opposites, but it’s far more complicated. Anthropology shows how love and marriage are entwined in many different ways.

Dr Deborah Bailey-Rodriguez:
Covid-19: love in lockdown – podcast | Science | The Guardian

Mini review of Eva Illouz, The End of Love

Michael Gratzke:

Eva Illouz has published several books on the history and sociology of love. Her contribution to the academic research into love and its popularisation has been remarkable. In this latest love-themed book, Illouz looks at various ways in which love ends.

A large portion of the book is dedicated to her tracing of sexual liberation, sexiness-as-commodity and ‘scopic capitalism’. Her main argument is that the detraditionalization of society (in the Western World) has created an environment in which sex, relationships and love have been decoupled. Without strong cultural frameworks regulating their interactions, such as the middle-class preoccupation with the core family as the single site for love, sex, procreation and economic security which was the dominant model ca. 1850s to 1950s, actors lack the safety of normative, ontological and emotional certainties. This is a take on Illouz’ previous work on choice, technologies of choice and the ways in which they overburden the individual.

Illouz sees the ways in which people enter and end relationships in the first two decades of the 21st century as evidence for a negative sociality based on the lack of certainties and consequently ‘muddled wills’. People don’t know what they are supposed to feel and, therefore, do not know what they are supposed to do.

Dating apps and their associated behaviours, ghosting, divorce rates which remain high, men’s unwillingness to commit, women’s overwhelming desire to be recognised in their full emotionality are brought in evidence. Many of the examples from interviews, literature and internet sources point at what Lyotard would have described as a différend: two parties who cannot resolve their conflict because there is no shared frame of reference for what the conflict is, such as a woman who feels hurt because the man did not invite her to his house warming party for his close friends – because they had agreed that their were fuckbuddies and not friends with benefits.  

To me, the book has some weaknesses in the way it generalises male and female heterosexual behaviour, although it has to be mentioned that for this book Illouz interviewed gay and lesbian people as well, which she did to a much lesser extent in previous studies. 

The strength of the book lies in its wide historical and philosophical range which is thought provoking.

CFP: Love “Apocalypse”: New Intimacies and the Decline of Marriage and Fertility

Dear Colleagues,

We are exploring the feasibility of putting together an organized session at the AAA Annual Meeting in November that would later be transformed into an edited book on emergent formations in contemporary intimate relationships and their direct impact on rates of marriage and fertility in societies where these rates are in decline. If your work engages these themes, please consider our Call for Papers detailed below:

Call for Papers: AAA Panel and Edited Volume

Title: Love “Apocalypse”: New Intimacies and the Decline of Marriage and Fertility

Organizers/Editors: Victor de Munck, William Jankowiak & Alex Nelson

Marriage and fertility rates in much of the world are in decline. In most wealthy nations the rate of marriage is in decline. Most of these nations have likewise experienced childbirth rates well below the level of replacement (2.1), with some countries reaching rates less than half of that level. This panel, planned for the 2020 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, and the edited volume it aims to produce, will explore recent cultural shifts in intimate relationships, including conceptions and practices of love, sex, marriage, family and parenting, examining their direct impact on declining marriage and fertility rates. In particular, we seek ethnographic accounts from societies where these rates are lowest, including (but not limited to): Puerto Rico, Singapore, Italy, Portugal, Ukraine, Argentina, Slovenia, Chile, France, Mexico, Iceland, Japan, UAE, Thailand, and Brazil. We currently have abstracts on Lithuania, China, and South Korea and are expecting and anticipate two more, from Spain and Cuba respectively. We aim to achieve as much regional diversity as possible.

We seek ethnographically grounded accounts of emergent family and intimate formations that explicitly theorize relationships between those emerging practices and conceptions of family, sex, love, and marriage, and how those practices have contributed to, or will affect, declining fertility and marriage rates in those contexts. Emergent patterns in intimate relationships of interest include, but are not limited to:

Shifts from joint to nuclear families

Shift from nuclear to single parent families

Impacts of IVF and Surrogacy on family formations


Adoption and foster parenting

Long distance relationships 

Couples regularly separated by migration or long commutes

Open relationships

The rise of companionate marriage

The de-ritualization of courtship

The Child-free movement

Economic barriers to marriage and childrearing

Contributors will provide an ethnographic account of recent transformations in intimate relations or of an emergent intimate relationship formation in a specified cultural context. They should additionally discuss the implications of these transformations or formations for national marriage and fertility rates. Contributors will be encouraged to summarize current discourses and approaches addressing marriage and fertility rate declines, such as whether they are problematized in public discourse, and to briefly discuss possible interventions that would address the needs of one’s informants. Contributors may also discuss whether declines in marriage and fertility ought to be understood as a problem at all from the perspective of one’s informants or from a theoretical standpoint. Our aim with the volume is not to sensationalize emergent trends in intimate relationships. We hope to place global trends in comparative ethnographic contexts while illustrating that these transformations, and the social changes creating them, have society-wide implications and are not matters of generational or personal character.

Participation Details:

We first and foremost seek contributors to provide chapters for an edited volume. We have had preliminary discussions with several interested university and academic presses and will submit our proposal once establishing the complete list of contributors. We encourage those contributing to present as part of our panel at the AAA Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO, USA (November 18th-22nd), but attending and presenting are not required in order to contribute to the volume.

We request those interested in joining this enterprise to email us indicating whether you wish to be on the AAA panel and provide a 250-word (Max) abstract of your proposed chapter and its title. If you wish to join the panel, please submit your name, affiliation, chapter title, and abstract by March 27th, 2020. Please note that those included on the AAA panel must be or become AAA members and register for the conference before the panel proposal can be submitted. If you do not wish to join the panel but would like to contribute a chapter, please let us know by March 27th and submit your name, affiliation, chapter title, and a 250-word abstract to us via email by April 3rd, 2020. It may also be possible to contribute a paper to the panel without joining the volume, though preference may be given to those who can participate in both.  

To optimize the quality and affordability of the volume, we currently plan on keeping the number of chapters to nine, including the introduction. Expansion could be possible depending on negotiations with the publisher. If we receive more abstracts than we can include, we will select those that maximize the panel’s diversity by region, relationship type, theoretical perspective, and other criteria, while also prioritizing contributions that best address the questions outlined in this CFP to assure the volume is cohesive.

Working Timeline:

March 9th – Put out call for papers

March 27th, 2020 – Due date for AAA paper Abstracts

March 31st, 2020 – Inform participants of inclusion on the panel

April 3rd, 2020 – Deadline for abstracts from chapter contributors not presenting on the panel

April 8th, 2020 – Final deadline to submit panel to the AAA

November 11th, 2020 – Complete panel papers due

November 18th – 22nd 2020 – AAA Conference 

January 8th Complete Chapter Manuscripts due

March 8th, 2021 – Receive Reviewer/Editor Feedback

May 1st, 2021 – Submit Revised Chapter Manuscript

June 1st, 2021 – Complete book manuscript submitted to publisher

December 1st, 2021 – Anticipated Publication

We look forward to your submissions! Feel free to share this CFP on relevant listservs or with colleagues engaged in relevant work. Please do not hesitate to inquire with questions about the project. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Victor de Munck

Department of Anthropology

SUNY New Palz


William Jankowiak

Department of Anthropology

University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Alex Nelson

Department of Anthropology

University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Call for papers: Decolonising Families and Relationships

Decolonising Families and Relationships

A symposium organized by the BSA Families and Relationships Study Group

Friday 11th September 2020, UCL London

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 endeavourfor ‘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. 

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 at along with a bio of 150 words, by Friday 17th April 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 April 2020.

The event will take place in UCL London on Friday 11th September 2020.

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.