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Journal of Family Studies

For a Special Issue on

Reframing family definitions in the era of superdiversity

Abstract deadline
30 April 2023

Manuscript deadline
29 February 2024

Cover image - Journal of Family Studies

Special Issue Editor(s)

Paula Pustułka, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland
[email protected]

Małgorzata Sikorska, Faculty of Sociology, University of Warsaw, Poland
[email protected]

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Reframing family definitions in the era of superdiversity

SI Aims and Focus: 

The main aim of Special Issue is to revisit how social researchers frame family and families when conducting various studies in social reality marked by abundant and constantly evolving family forms. Hence, this SI focuses on reconstructing and analyzing definitions of families in postmodern societies, with the broader aim of offering an up-to-date range of papers that answer various definitional questions and can be used by scholars in family studies and beyond. To foster interdisciplinary reflection, we invite authors from the fields of sociology, anthropology, media studies, social policy, cultural studies etc.

For a comprehensive SI on family definitions, we intend to combine papers from three perspectives:

  1. theoretical reflection on the evolution of family definition in the field of family studies, especially in relation to the plethora of the emerging and changing family forms, including: non-heteronormative families, migrant and transnational families, one-parent families, cohabitations, unmarried parents and patchwork families as well as growing social class inequalities in family lives;
  2. methodological innovations in investigating contemporary family life and intimacy;
  3. results of empirical explorations focused on social definitions of families in various countries, which highlight variability of sociocultural norms and practices pertaining to family and how it is defined.

Detailed Areas of Interest:

We invite submissions that cover – but are not limited to – these three areas, as further detailed below:

  1. Theoretical perspectives on family definitions:
  • Family definitions responding to family superdiversity, understood as accounting for the growing proliferation of different family forms, which include, among other, non-heteronormative families, migrant and transnational families, one-parent families, cohabitations, unmarried parents and patchwork families, as well as growing social class inequalities in family lives;
  • Evolution of family definitions, elements of definitions which are constant, alongside these other items being modified or abandoned;
  • Leveraging sociological concepts, for instance acceleration, ambivalence, risk, to develop (re)definitions of family.
  1. Methodological perspective on reframing families:
  • Established and innovative methods that facilitate researching and analyzing family life in search for new family definitions;
  • Interdisciplinary inspirations and intradisciplinary shifts: family definitions in qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods approaches, insights on family framings originating from other fields relevant to social research and family studies;
  • Exploring family definitions in public, social media and political discourses.
  1. Empirical perspectives on defining families:
  • Social actors included in family research and their views on defining family; family definitions according to politicians, media and popular culture, school, church and other institutions;
  • Family from a perspective of its members: meanings and boundary-making;
  • Differences in family definitions across countries and around the world;
  • An intersection of family and crisis, understood both in relation to the discourses and debates about the presumed “family in crisis”, and in terms of the actual effects of social crises - such as the COVID-19 pandemic, energy crisis, war in Ukraine - on the new perspectives on defining families.

Submission Instructions

Instructions for Authors:

  • Interested Authors are invited to submit extended 500-700 words abstract proposals. The abstracts should include (as applicable): a specific research question/aim of the paper, brief information on the literature it draws upon, clarification of the research methods and procedures, key findings and/or contributions. Please include a brief statement on how your paper fits into the CfP of the Special Issue (“Reframing family definitions in the era of superdiversity”). The deadline for the submission of abstracts to guest editors - Paula Pustułka: [email protected] and Małgorzata Sikorska: [email protected] and - is April 30th, 2023.
  • Authors will be notified about the status of their submission by May 31st, 2023. Note that the guest editors can accept a maximum of 8 papers for this SI.
  • The first version of manuscript (between 5000 and 8000 words - including abstract, references and footnotes), consistent with the Journal’s Instructions for Authors (, will need to be submitted by October 31st, 2023.
  • The editors of the Special Issue intend to hold an online workshop with all authors to collaboratively develop papers and provide feedback.
  • The final version of the manuscript will need to be submitted by February 29th, 2024.
  • We envision a rigorous peer-review process to be completed by third quarter 2024.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article