Call for Papers - The Joys of Otherhood?

Type of Event: 
Call for Papers Due
Monday, May 15, 2017 (All day)
Contact for Questions:

The Joys of Otherhood? Call for Contributions (Routledge, 2018)

A volume edited by Natalie Sappleton (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

Submissions are currently being solicited for an edited collection tentatively entitled “The Joys of Otherhood? Feminist perspectives on voluntary and involuntary childlessness”. Routledge has indicated interest in publication as part of its Gender & Sexuality series with publication possible for 2018.

This proposed edited collection of interdisciplinary essays aims to critically analyze the drivers, consequences, nature and manifestations of childlessness in both voluntary and involuntary forms.

The issue of childlessness has been studied intensely since Veevers (1973, p. 199) identified it to be “a neglected area of family study”. Since that time, childlessness has risen steadily, particularly among women in the West.  Researchers from a wide range of scholarly disciplines, including psychology, sociology, gender studies, social work and social policy have sought to explain the drivers, determinants and consequences of childlessness in both voluntary and involuntary forms in terms of aspects such as emotional state, personal and relational networks and social mobility. A large proportion of this work has embraced a feminist epistemology and/or ontology (Letherby, 1999; Hird, 2003; Blackstone and Stewart, 2003).   While the scope and breadth of interest in this important topic is to be lauded, knowledge progress has so far been hampered by poor linkages across this fragmented and disjointed field of inquiry. This edited collection of original chapters addresses this issue by bringing together theoretical insights and empirical investigations into voluntary and involuntary childlessness, drawing on a feminist conceptual framework. It will be of interest to academicians, students and policymakers in a wide range of scholarly and geographical contexts.

In an effort to propel and expand the discourse, chapters are solicited that more recent, progressive thinking on childlessness, and which examine the topic from the perspective of a wide array of stakeholders and spheres. Chapters that focus on childlessness in the Global South are particularly welcome.

A more precise content of the collection will be determined following a solicitation of appropriate chapters from scholars and experts in the field. However, theoretical and empirical essays that address the following themes are invited:

Section 1: Pathways to and experiences of childlessness

The route to childlessness
The construction of childless identities
Gendered perspectives on childlessness
Men and childlessness
LGBTQI and childlessness
Ageing and childlessness

Section 2: The labour market and childlessness

Labour and work consequences of childlessness
Employment, self-employment and childlessness
Human capital and childlessness
Social capital, social networks and childlessness
Job satisfaction and childlessness

Section 3: Social life and childlessness

Marriage, singlehood and childlessness
Cultural capital and childlessness
Family and friendship networks and childlessness
Stigma management and perspectives on social deviance

This thematic list is not exhaustive and aligned topic suggestions are welcome.

A wide variety of disciplinary approaches are welcome including, but not limited to: sociology, social policy, cultural anthropology, critical race theory and ageing studies.

Please send chapter abstracts (max. 500 words), a brief biography and a one-page CV to Dr. Natalie Sappleton ( by December 18, 2016. Full chapter submissions (max. 7000 words) will be due May 15, 2017, with final, revised chapters due November 18, 2017.

Please do circulate this call widely with graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars who work on any aspect of childlessness.