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Fertility, childlessness and the family: A plurydisciplinary approach

Quetelet seminar 2014 – Fertility, childlessness and the family: A plurydisciplinary approach.
November 05-07, 2014,
Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Call for papers

Over the last centuries, marriage and the family have undergone dramatic transformations, both in industrialized and less developed countries. Within recent decades, new patterns have emerged, such as blended families or same-sex couples, while divorce rates have increased. During this period, fertility has gone down while voluntary childlessness became more frequent modifying the distribution of family types among economic and social groups. This transformation has been accompanied by deep value changes and modifications of women’s social status and roles in society.

Demographers as well as other social and human scientists like sociologists, economists, historians, philosophers and lawyers are involved in research projects studying this phenomenon. The Center for Research in Demography and Societies at Université catholique de Louvain invites researchers from all these disciplines and beyond to the 40th edition of the Quetelet Seminar. The main objective of this seminar is to present the most advanced works on "Fertility, childlessness and the family". The spirit of the seminar will be interdisciplinary ; each session will include presentations of demographers and of other social scientists.

The second afternoon of the seminar (June 06th) will be dedicated to the lauching of an intersciplinary book about "Distance and family, marital and sexual ties : an interdisciplinary approach" that has been coordinated by the CIRFASE. For this lauching, four international experts from demography, sociology and psychology, will discuss the main ideas of the book in the light of their own researchs in this field.

Concerning the other sessions of the seminar, even if not exclusive, we would like to put a special focus on the following topics:

1. New forms of families
• Marriage and parenthood: Does the gap still increase? Which impact on fertility and childlessness
• One parent families: Who are the single mothers/fathers? What are their economic and social characteristics? Should governments help them? How?
• Same sex parents: What do the data tell us? Are societies really afraid of this form of unions? Why?
• Childless families: Choice or burden? What are their economic ans social characteristics?
• The enlarged family: Evolution of co-residence
• New forms of families: The role of women’s empowerment, alternative forms of living arrangements
• Culture, religion and new forms of families
• Fertility, childlessness and family transformations: An historical perspective
2. Fertility and childlessness: A public policy perspective
• Involuntary childlessness in developing countries: How can public policies help?
• Is there still a need for family planning in developing countries? How to rely on measures of undesired fertility?
• Childlessness due to first birth postponement: Should public institutions play a role?
• Child adoption and child fostering: Organization schemes and well-being of actors
3. Evolution of Union Formation
• Features of homogamy and endogamy : updated results, trends for assortative mating, role of "local marriage markets"
• Assortative mating and the evolution of cohabitation, divorce, remarriage and late marriage
• Homogamy in times of economic crises
• Is homogamy a driving force for value orientation in society?

Call for papers deadline, organisation:
Deadline for submission of proposals: 10th June 2014
Organisation: Research Centre in Population and Societies, Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium (

To submit a proposal:

Thomas Baudin
On behalf of the Committee Chaire Quetelet 2014