This project, hosted in the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Umeå University, and funded by the Swedish Research Council, has started in January 2014. Its aim is to undertake an in-depth philosophical analysis of the ethics and politics of close personal relationships and parenting, in light of ongoing sociocultural changes such as increased uptake and visibility of alternative lifestyles, as well as greater availability of technologies which impact on reproductive choice. A related and secondary aim is to stimulate research interest within Sweden in the area of the project, and provide a framework for interdisciplinary collaboration.

The objectives of the projects are:

(1) to examine the arguments that recommend or disqualify relationship and family structures* that deviate from heterosexual, monogamous or marital norms as legitimate modes of organisation of private life, reproduction and parenting;

(2) to explore the foundations and limits of rights and duties in the realm of close personal relationships (as well as the role of the State in protecting these rights and enforcing these duties);

(3) to encourage further interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as academic and societal communication, on ethics and policy-making regarding close personal relationships.

In order to achieve the overall aim and meet the related objectives, we will address questions that fall broadly under two closely inter-related headings: a) an analysis of the ethical and political implications of socio-cultural and technological challenges for relationship, marital and parenting norms; and b) a framework of organisation of co-parenting that is not built around other types of relationships between adults (such as marriage). The two elements presuppose an exploration of the connections and distinctions between commitment to romantic relationships between adults, other types of close personal relationships, and (co-)parenting, respectively.

* such as lifelong friendship, post-separation co-parenting, non-sexual collaboration for reproduction and/or parenting etc.