Call for contributions to the conference “Families and kinship in the face of environmental upheaval: mutations and resistances?” to be held at the Centre Norbert Elias, in Marseille on June 5, 2023.

Scientific coordination: Pierre-Yves Wauthier (Centre Norbert Elias/EHESS) and Florence Weber (CMH-INES/ENS).

Environmental changes have been impacting the living conditions of several populations around the world, at different times. In response to current climate changes, environmental policies encourage and imply profound changes in our ways of life. This conference proposes to examine in what ways do adaptations to environmental changes contribute, or could they contribute, to affect family life and/or kinship relationships. The conference will be held on June 5, 2023 at the Centre Norbert Elias Marseille. It is open to any social science researchers interested in these topics in order to exchange knowledge, identify avenues of research and build a multidisciplinary network.

Deadline for proposals: Sunday, January 29, 2023


Since the publicization of measured observations of global warming and the reduction of biodiversity by scientific warning organizations (IPCC, IPBES…), political bodies acting at the macro and meso-social levels (from the UN down to neighborhood associations) have become more keenly aware that society is based on both biological necessities and socially instituted constraints. The European “Green Deal”, together with national and regional environmental policies aim to “transform our economy and our societies” (European Commission, 2019, July 14th), to mitigate the impact of human activities on the environment and to adapt our lifestyles to new environmental conditions (Wilson et al., 2021). In practice, these policies concern the sectors of energy, industry, agriculture, land management, building (residential and tertiary), mobility and consumption (goods and services).

Kinship is also at the crossroads of biological necessities and socially instituted constraints (Carsten, 2000; Lévi-Strauss, 1986; Sahlins, 2013). “Doing family” (Morgan, 2011) associates questions of human reproduction with solidarities, reciprocities and transmissions of material and symbolic resources between people who think of themselves as families or act as families (Wauthier, 2022; Weber, 2013). Works in different disciplines of social sciences have highlighted continuities and changes of kinship relationships in times of territorial or economic evolutions (e.g. Cliggett, 2005; Crate, 2006; Godelier, 2004; Goody, 1976, 2000; Mauss & Beuchat, 1904-1905; Oris, 2003; Segalen, 1980)

The changing environmental context is conducive to new organizations of solidarities, reciprocities, or transmissions. Life courses (Hareven, 1978) driven by support for ecological causes, solastalgia or eco-anxiety are emerging out these intertwining of changing conditions. Some individuals are reluctant to have children (Helm, Kemper, & White, 2021; Iverson, Lindsay, & MacInnis, 2020); others, driven by more or less pessimistic visions of the future, gather in small back-to-the-land communities (Benessaiah & Eakin, 2021) or in cluster housing in urban areas. In various parts of the world, the adaptation of local populations to the transformations of their environment has directly affected family practices, sometimes manifesting as a dismantling of traditional gender and generation relationships (Albrecht, 2005; Clavel, Guétat-Bernard, & Verger, 2022; Godelier, 2004).

Changes in climate and environment (and the ways in which they are managed by humans) have generated a variety of situations conducive to understanding the processes of mutation and reproduction of societies and social groups (Crate & Nuttall, 2016; Izdebski & Mulryan, 2019) ; processes in which the family plays a key role as an instance of biological and social reproduction (Godelier, 2007), but also as a locus of adaptive or socially disruptive relationships (e. g. Crate, 2006; Martial, 2003, 2021; Oris & Alter, 2008; Wauthier, in press).


Categories of expected contributions

This call is open to all works in social sciences (history, geography, sociology, ethnology, etc.), without methodological restriction, concerning the continuities and changes of the family in the face of adaptations to environmental changes or limitations of anthropogenic impacts on the environment. This is open to any territory or period, likely to nourish the understanding of the effects of the environmental crisis on kinship and family relations.

This may involve work concerning all areas of kinship or family: forms of residence, filiation, heritage, parenthood, food and energy solidarities, intergenerational care, reproduction, sexuality, attachment, domestic economy, gender relations, identity, and terminology of kinship and identity.

These themes must be directly linked to environmental issues (mitigation of anthropogenic alterations of the environment or adaptations to new living conditions). Some examples include:

Housing: Clustered housing versus geographical dispersion of families: families as geographically scattered (Bonvalet, 2003) and blood-affinity networks (Widmer & La Farga, 2016)

Energy: Frugalities, precariousness, or adaptations of households (Bartiaux & Reátegui Salmón, 2014; Hirt, Sahakian, & Trutnevyte, 2022)

Mobility: Motility of people and goods (Fisch-Romito & Guivarch, 2019), promotion of soft mobility, fuel scarcity, and the interplay of distancing and bonding between family members (Kaufmann, Bergman, & Joye, 2004; Kaufmann & Widmer, 2005)

Home economics, wealth, debt, and income (Attané, Langewiesche, & Pourcel, 2004; Ekers & Levkoe, 2016; Knight, 2018; Matschoss et al., 2021); new work-family balance related to sharing-, platform-, recycling-, telecommuting-economy… (Rifkin, 2019); family heterotopias related to new modes of production or consumption (economic sovereignty; localism vs. globalism; trade, gift and inheritance; water and commons management…)

Territory: Anthropogenic impacts on the environment and living conditions (Bureau-Point, 2021); ecological emigration, gender and generation relationships (Cliggett, 2005); agrarian and food sovereignty, management of the commons (Ingold, 2018), green urbanism, nature reserve policies (Elie, 2017); permaculture (Centemeri, 2019); (forestalling) the urban sprawl (Hanin & al., 2021), the protection of biodiversity and carbon sinks.

Food: production, sharing and consumption of food, short supply chain… (Attané, 2002; Clavel et al., 2022; Consalès, Guiraud, & Siniscalchi, 2022; Siniscalchi, 2019; Snikersproge, 2022).

Digitization of social relationships: what distance, or resistance to digital technology, does to intergenerational family ties and conjugality (Ag, 2022; Bergström, 2019).

Community experiences: degrowth, survivalist or collapseist communities… (Allard, Monnin, & Tasset, 2019).

Health: Management of pandemics, confinement of families, protection of people at risk, redeployment of care work… (Lambert & Cayouette-Remblière, 2021).

Visions (positive or negative) of the future: Political movements, Ecofeminism (Bauhardt & Harcourt, 2020), degrowth, sustainable development, collapse, green capitalism…

Methodological contributions discussing challenges of producing knowledge at the intersection of different disciplines are also welcome (Izdebski et al., 2016).



Eve Bureau-Point (Centre Norbert Elias/CNRS)
Laura Centemeri (Centre d’étude des mouvements sociaux/EHESS)
Natacha Collomb (Centre Norbert Elias/CNRS)
Agnès Martial (Centre Norbert Elias/CNRS)
Valeria Siniscalchi (Centre Norbert Elias/EHESS)
Pierre-Yves Wauthier (Centre Norbert Elias/EHESS)
Florence Weber (Centre Maurice Halbwachs/ENS)


Terms of participation

The conference will be held in Marseille on June 5, 2023.
Proposals for papers should be sent to, by January 29, 2023.
Researchers wishing to contribute are requested to send an abstract of their contribution of 250 to 300 words. This abstract should include a short bibliography, a clear presentation of the research materials, 3 to 5 keywords, a biographical note (including institutional and disciplinary affiliation) as well as contact information (first name, last name, and email address).
After evaluation by the organizing committee, the results of the selection of the contributions will be published around February 28, 2023.


Cited references

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Allard, L., Monnin, A., & Tasset, C. (2019). Is it too late for collapse? Multitudes, n°76(3). doi:10.3917/mult.076.0053

Attané, A. (2002). Pêcher, courir, trier ses déchets… pratiques de l’environnement ou rapport aux autres. Ethnographie comparée des pratiques de l’environnement dans deux villes françaises (Cherbourg et Martigues). Europeae, 1(2), 261-282.

Attané, A., Langewiesche, K., & Pourcel, F. (2004). Néoruraux. Vivre autrement. Expériences néo-rurales en pays de Forcalquier. Enquête ethnologique et photographique. Manosque: Le Bec en l’Air éditions.

Bartiaux, F., & Reátegui Salmón, L. (2014). Family Dynamics and Social Practice Theories: An Investigation of Daily Practices Related to Food, Mobility, Energy Consumption, and Tourism. Nature and Culture, 9(2), 204-224. doi:10.3167/nc.2014.090206

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