International Seminar on Separation, Divorce, Repartnering and Remarriage around the World

Montreal, Canada, 4–6 May 2015

Seminar organized by the IUSSP Scientific Panel on Nuptiality and the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), and hosted by the Centre Urbanisation Culture Société de l’INRS (Montréal, Canada).


Deadline for submission of abstracts: extended to 15 September 2014.

Download call for papers in PDF 


In the great majority of countries around the world, family ties are increasingly becoming more indistinct, unstable and flexible. In recent decades, some regions of the world have witnessed a substantial transformation of the institution of marriage, in the form of postponement, retreat, and the appearance of new kinds of unions, whereas in other areas and subpopulations, marriage remains a strong institution. However, in most if not all regions, separation and divorce have become more common, and, in some regions, may lead to the formation of new conjugal unions.


The diversification of conjugal and reproductive trajectories is transforming not only individual life courses, but also family responsibilities, the patterns of gender relations and the wellbeing of women, men and children. The consequences of these processes of family change are unclear and can be interpreted from competing and frequently contradictory standpoints. New and traditional models coexist because of the heterogeneity among countries and the large social inequalities within them. Thus, increase in informal unions, separations and divorce can be interpreted as advancing personal autonomy or as leading to social exclusion; and can also be interpreted as a triumph of individual freedom over institutional formalism or as an adaptation strategy that favours limited commitment in the face of economic or biographical uncertainty. Overall, the changes we see in conjugal unions can be considered as an indication of the weakening of family ties and consequently as a decrease of social capital, or as an expression of greater personal choice in reaction to economic, religious or social pressures.


In this context, the Panel has adopted as one of the central and cross-cutting aspects of its activities the study of separation, divorce, repartnering and remarriage and how they vary in timing and intensity, and according to location (country, regions, rural/urban), cultural and ideational aspects, and socio-economic characteristics (education, occupation, gender, etc.).


Seminar organizers seek contributions on separation, divorce, repartnering and remarriage around the world, their trends, their determinants and the associated emerging challenges for family demography. They are especially interested in research that is based on a comparative approach (across countries or within a country) or that addresses the issue of trends and differentials. Papers exploring more than one dataset are encouraged. Submissions that offer deep insight on a particular problem are also welcome. The seminar is open to contributions on all regions of the world.


Issues of interest to the Panel include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Stability and breakdown of unions. Determinants and factors of change (micro/meso/macro level), including structural determinants (e.g. change in educational structures), gender roles and work-family balance. Spatial differentials.
  2. Repartnering and remarriage. Complementariness and similarity of gender roles and differences in patterns between men and women. Economic dependence and independence. Comparison with first unions. Assortative mating and matching of the characteristics of partners and spouses (ethnic endogamy, social homogamy, age and sex homogamy, educational homogamy, religious homogamy, etc.). Spatial differentials.
  3. Family policies and civil law. Do they impede separation and divorce, repartnering and remarriage? Do they facilitate them? Do they foster them?

Online Submissions:

The IUSSP Panel on Nuptiality and the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) invite researchers in the field to submit online, by 15 September 2014, a short 200-word abstract AND upload an extended abstract (2 to 4 pages, including tables) or a full paper, which must be unpublished. To submit and fill out the online submission form, please click here: online submission form.


The seminar will be limited to a maximum of 20 completed papers. Abstracts and papers may be written in English or French, but the working language of the seminar will be English and presentations shall be done in English.


Submission should be made by the author who will attend the seminar. If the paper is co-authored, please include the names of your co-authors in your submission form (in the appropriate order). 


Applicants will be notified whether their paper has been accepted by 15 October 2014. Authors of accepted papers must upload the full paper on the IUSSP website by 1 April 2015.

Possible outcomes from the seminar include publishing the papers as seminar proceedings, an edited volume or a special issue of a journal. Papers submitted should be unpublished and, as for a journal or an edited book, authors, by submitting a paper, agree they will not propose it for publication to another editor until the committee makes a decision with regard to their possible publication.


Current funding for the seminar is limited; efforts are under way to raise additional funds, but the outcome is at this point uncertain Seminar organizers cannot ensure that any travel support will be available. Applicants are therefore strongly encouraged to seek their own travel funding. Funding is contingent upon submission of a complete paper of acceptable quality by the deadline for papers.


For further information:

Please contact Seminar Organizer Benoît Laplante (Benoit.Laplante@UCS.INRS.Ca).


IUSSP Scientific Panel on Nuptiality:

Chair: Julieta Quilodrán.

Members: N. Audinarayana, Andrew J. Cherlin, Clara Cortina, Bilampoa Gnoumou Thiombiano and Benoît Laplante.