Guest Bloggers of October – Farewell from Rudolf, Rudy, and Ria (RC06 board, 2006-2014)

We have a special treat this month, our previous board (2006-2014) left us a wonderful farewell post. Thank you, Rudolf, Rudy, and Ria for all your dedication, hard work, and inspiration!

Rudolf Richter, former President (2006-2014)

As a kind of farewell I encourage us – the Family Researchers: Be cumulative!

Back from Yokohama I read a book which caught my attention at the book exhibition on the conference site. It was Robert Smith´s Cumulative Social Inquiry. He pleads for more accumulation of knowledge in sociology. In the last decades “originality” and “novelty” have dominated research endeavors. The strong tendency to be “original” and to look for “novelty” brought a mess of not related results to sociology, and I think to family sociology as well. (I found it very characteristic that in my own session in Yokohama we had a presentation on lunchboxes in England as well as multivariate secondary analysis of big data sets like the gender and generation survey, both thrilling). An innumerable amount of research questions with unrelated methods has brought chaos in results rather than a progression of knowledge. Cumulative science does not mean reproducing the very same, researching what has been researched before. Building on research results and specifying them might, according to Robert Smith, be the foundation of innovative knowledge. Thus cumulating knowledge is what brings us forward rather than a chaos of originality.

I think these are more than just inspiring ideas, it could be the mission of the Committee of Family Research. An international research committee is the right place to cumulate knowledge. Not necessarily in cooperative research – though this might be the ideal – but more so in seeing what sociologists in other countries deal with, what the problems in other countries are and which questions are being raised, waiting for an answer which might be answered by raising these questions globally.

I have enjoyed staying in a central position in the Committee for Family Research and would like to encourage the new board to continue promoting the integration and cumulation of global knowledge.

Thank you, members, for all your help and enthusiasm in putting forward family sociology through the last eight years during which I was able to serve as president. We had several seminars world wide, sometimes two a year, a lively committee you are in.

Rudy Ray Seward, former Vice-President (2006-2014)

During the first meetings of the new CFR board held during the XVI World Congress in 2006, I felt fully adopted into a very special family. These meetings on the patio outside the International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa during cool July days in 2006 contributed to an appreciation of the rich and diverse history of CFR. My long time mentor, colleague, friend and Honorary President Jan Trost expanded my research horizons in the 1970s, during my visiting fellowship at Stockholm University. Several SU colleagues stressed the need to contact the leading family scholar in Sweden. As a result I joined Jan’s family study group, which led to joining CFR. Active participation in the CFR began as part of the 2000 Uppsala seminar hosted by Jan. The seminar so rewarding and stimulating to my research that I made CFR membership and meetings my top priority.

The transition of the new 2006-2010 board was greatly facilitated by previous President Bernhard Nauck and long serving Secretary/treasurer Irene Levin. Fortunately, Irene continued to serve on the new Board and her sage advice was valuable beyond measure. Our goal was to build on the success of our preceding officers and members whose efforts had created one of the largest, most active, and innovative ISA research committees. During our tenure with help from too many people to thank a variety of interim meetings were held even two during several years, full programs were developed at two World Congress with the number of joint sessions with other RCs increased, from the meeting papers many books and special editions of journals were published, a special award for early stage scholars to help pay travel expenses was established and awarded, grants obtained from the ISA help many members fund their trips to the World Congress, our constitution was rewritten and later revised to become our statues, and most importantly many collaborations and friendships were fostered. The 2006-2010 officers continued to serve on the 2010-2014 board and were joined by Members at Large Tessa LeRoux, Bárbara Barbosa Neves, and Emiko Ochiai. Like Christina Gomez and Irene Levin on the previous Board besides Board duties they each hosted one of the interim meetings.

On a very personal note, I will always be grateful for the CFR Boards and members for their understanding during my bout with advance aggressive prostate cancer diagnosed in 2007. You all became an important part of my health network and team that helped successfully treat and survive with flourish still testing cancer free. I will always be most grateful. So my hope is that this is NOT a farewell note but a wish to continue the journey together as long as possible. To the 2010-2014 board I wish you all to “fair thee well” as you go forward.

Proud to be one of the 3 Rs.

Ria Smit, former Secretary and Treasurer (2006-2014)

My association with the CFR started under the African winter sun in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in 1996 when I attended the CFR seminar held at Itala Game Reserve. Here I met, amongst others, longtime RC06 members Chin-Chun Yi, Jan Trost, Wilfried Dumon, Ruth Katz, and Barbara Settles. I remember how I was struck by the combination of vibrant intellectual debate and warm collegiality. I immediately realized that this is a network of academics and researchers that I would like to become a part of. Since I joined RC06 I have not only met many colleagues doing interesting work, learned a lot from them, but also made good friends.

Reflecting on the two terms I have served as Secretary/Treasurer of the CFR between 2006 and 2014, I can honestly say that it has been an absolute pleasure serving the Committee in general and working with Rudolf Richter and Rudy Seward in particular in their capacity as President and Vice President respectively. I am excited about the planned future activities of the Committee and the work the new board has already done. I wish them all the best.

So, as I paged through many pictures taken at CFR seminars and events, I once again realized how much I appreciate being part of this ‘extended family’ of family researchers.

RC06 Board (2010-2014): Emiko, Barbara, Rudy, Rudolf, Ria, and Tessa at the ISA World Congress in Japan (from left to right)

RC06 Board (2010-2014): Emiko, Barbara, Rudy, Rudolf, Ria, and Tessa at the ISA World Congress in Japan (from left to right)

“Aging Families, Changing Families: An International Conference” – Call for papers, RC06-RC11 Seminar in Syracuse, NY, June 2015

“Aging Families, Changing Families: An International Conference”, June 3-6, 2015, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.

This conference will provide a forum for scholarly papers on aging in the context of family life with an emphasis on social change and global perspectives. Co-sponsored by the Research Committees on Aging and Family Research of the International Sociological Association and the Aging Studies Institute of Syracuse University.

Keynote Speakers:
Andrew Cherlin, Johns Hopkins University,
Martin Kohli, European University Institute
Ingrid Arnet Connidis, University of Western Ontario

Topics include (but are not limited to):

• Intergenerational, spousal and sibling relations over the second half of life,
• Caregiving, grandparenting, filial piety
• Widowhood, changing family forms (divorce, remarriage, step-relations, cohabitation),
• Intersections of older families with race, class, gender, sexuality, and/or transnationalism
• Implications of family life for well-being,
• Welfare-state policies as they relate to older families,
• Historical, demographic, comparative, and developmental perspectives on aging families.

Abstracts are due December 15, 2014.

For more information and online abstract submission, visit the conference website.

Email questions to:

Co-Sponsored by: Syracuse University Aging Studies Institute, Maxwell School of Public Policy and Citizenship, Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

“Individualisation, Internationalisation and Family Policy” – Call for papers, RC06 Seminar in Dublin, August 2015

“Individualisation, Internationalisation and Family Policy” is an international seminar co-hosted by the School of Applied Social Science, University College Dublin and the Research Committee on Family Research (RC06) of the International Sociological Association. The seminar will take place between Thursday 20th and Saturday 22nd August 2015 in the purpose built, and state of the art building known as the Quinn School of Business, on the UCD Belfield campus.

Increased opportunities for individuals to exercise autonomy across the life cycle are transforming family life for parents and children and for single people without children. Individualisation also brings a new sense of agency for individuals within a plurality of family forms and therefore presents new challenges for demographic and family policy makers. This new sense of agency and family pluralism is allied to a decline in patriarchy, increased access to contraception and to changing patterns of fertility and demographic change. This seminar recognises the role of epistemic communities of research scholars in contributing to the development of knowledge about the nature of family pluralism and to support family policy transfers across the European Union and between advanced and emerging welfare states and welfare systems within and beyond the OECD. The seminar theme encompasses a wide range of potential research topics on families from sociological, demographic, historical, psychological and educational perspectives.

On behalf of the ISA Family Research Committee and the School of Applied Social Science, the seminar organizing committee cordially invites scholars from the disciplines of sociology, social policy, gender studies and other interested social scientists to participate in this event. The conference theme encompasses a wide range of potential research topics on families from sociological, demographic, historical, psychological, comparative social policy, gender studies and children’s rights perspectives. The local organizing committee also welcomes other suggestions. Please write to Dr Michael Rush ( or Professor Tony Fahey ( at the school of Applied Social Science, UCD.

If you are interesting in participating please observe the following important dates:

Deadline to submit a (300 word) abstract: Monday, January 12th 2015
Notification of the status of your submission: Monday, February 9th 2015
Registration: from Monday 16th February – Friday 20th March 2015

More information regarding the seminar including events and accommodation will be made available in the coming weeks.

Submit abstracts to