Call: MANCEPT 2024 Workshop: The Future of Relationships

Call for Papers

MANCEPT 2024 Workshop: The Future of Relationships
September 4-6, 2024
Manchester, United Kingdom

Deadline for abstracts: June 1, 2024

Intimate relationships of various kinds play important roles in our lives. From romantic relationships and close friendships to relationships with colleagues and neighbors, they affect our well-being and the structure of our lives in profound ways. There have been many attempts to reimagine societies by focusing on changes to the public sphere: to how we work, how society is structured, and how we will be governed. Less attention has been directed to changes in our intimate relationships. This workshop aims to explore the future of relationships of all forms – including friendship, family life, romantic relationships, collegiality, etc. – as well as the broader ethical and political challenges they raise. For instance, what does good intimacy look like? What social, legal, cultural, or personal changes are required to promote its achievement? How are we currently being held-back? What are some underexplored ways in which the value of relationships that are important in people’s lives come into conflict with broader ethical and/or political values? How should we and a range of institutions address these potential tensions?

We invite proposals of no more than 500 words, for a presentation of approximately 30 minutes, to engage with a host of ethical and political questions around the future of relationships. Here is a non-exclusive list of some indicative themes:

Possible topics

  • Intimacy online
  • Intimacy and augmented reality
  • Chatbots and intimacy: therapy, love and Digital Duplicates
  • Robots: sex, love, friendship
  • Fertility technologies
  • Social norms of intimacy: e.g. amatonormativity, sex-negativity etc.
  • Relationship styles: relationship anarchy, polyamory, aromanticism
  • Relationship ideals: love, friendship, collegiality
  • Intimate practices: consent, communication, designing relationships
  • Alternatives to/abolition of the family
  • Intimacy and architecture: cities and buildings; schools, prisons, workplaces
  • Intimacy and fantasy: BDSM, imaginary friendships, porn
  • Paying for intimacy
  • The role of the state in relationships
  • The role of religion in relationships
  • Methodology: Ideal vs. non ideal approaches to intimacy
  • Spousal/partner hiring at the workplace
  • The ethics of risky relationships
  • Justice and limits of permissible partiality
  • Justice and the ethics of procreation
  • The ethics of rationally reinforcing unjust norms in relationships
  • The ethics of subversive relationships
  • Feminist perspectives on monogamy/non-monogamy

We actively welcome in-progress work and seek to foster a friendly and collaborative environment. PhD students, post-docs, and ECR are especially welcome. We are also receptive to interdisciplinary explorations of these ideas, provided they are accessible to the non-specialist.

Please email your abstract to by June 1st.

We will notify successful applicants by June 10th. If you are a graduate student, MANCEPT has a small number of fee-waiver bursaries for which you can apply after acceptance (the deadline is June 28th).

Organized by Natasha McKeever (University of Leeds); Luke Brunning (University of Leeds); Ruth Hornsby (University of Leeds); Kritika Maheshwari (Delft University of Technologies), Brian Berkey (University of Pennsylvania).


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