SPA 2022 Conference: Announcement and Call for Papers

This year’s annual Social Policy Association conference will take place at Swansea University from 6-8 July 2022 on the theme of ‘Inter-generationality: Challenges and Prospects’. It will be delivered in a ‘hybrid’ format so that key parts of the conference will also be accessible online.

Note: this announcement was updated on 24th January 2022 from the initial version posted 22nd December 2021. Please note changes of dates for abstract submission


Inter-generationality: Challenges and Prospects

First confirmed keynote speaker: Baroness Minouche Shafik (London School of Economics)



This year’s annual Social Policy Association conference will take place at Swansea University, but in a ‘hybrid’ format so that key parts of the conference will also be accessible online. This year’s theme is ‘Inter-generationality: Challenges and Prospects’.  We invite participants to reflect on that theme from all available angles, in any national context – and welcome contributions from researchers at all stages of their careers, and from any disciplinary perspective relevant to social policy in theory and practice.

While every era faces questions about the treatment of different generations, in ours they have become especially pressing.  Lengthening lifespans, changing birth-rates and an increasing awareness of the implications of past and current policies for future generations all have implications for how we understand the scope, priorities and values of social policy.  And talk of inter-generational clashes of interest – between, for example, ‘baby-boomers’ and the generations which have followed – is high in the public consciousness.  The panning-out of these issues and trends is inflected by other social divisions – for example class, gender and ‘race’ and ethnicity – and has been exacerbated by challenges to previous presumptions about the provision of social and public services, and to the institutional legacies of past generations.  As elsewhere, these trends and impacts have been highlighted all the more starkly by the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, and political changes such as Brexit and the emergence of right-wing populism.  And they touch upon every area of social policy, often unsettling previous assumptions and posing fresh questions about how we view the role of welfare states, the relationship between family and state, our responsibilities to the vulnerable and the values which inform decisions about the allocation of resources and the nature of services themselves.

In all these senses, inter-generational issues are at the heart of many of the most urgent challenges faced by contemporary societies.


About our first keynote speaker

Baroness Minouche Shafik is Director of the London School of Economics, having previously served as the youngest ever Vice President of the World Bank, Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Development, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.  She is author of the widely acclaimed What We Owe to Each Other (2021), which makes a case for a new social contract fit for the 21st century.


Submission of proposed papers and symposia

We invite proposals for papers and symposia (three or more papers on a particular theme) which address these issues and challenges, in connection with any area of social policy.  Papers may be comparative or focus on specific national contexts.  They may be historical or future-facing.  They may work within specific areas of policy, or across different domains.  They may address interventions, or absences of action.  As always with the SPA conference, we welcome the broadest range of focal points and approaches – but these are areas and topics which may resonate especially strongly with the overall conference theme:

  • Ageing society/ demographic change
  • Impacts of Covid-19 and other public health emergencies
  • Provision for future generations
  • The social security system and stages of the life course
  • The sustaining of social care
  • Impacts of poverty between generations
  • Children’s rights and welfare
  • Education over the life course
  • Taxation
  • Social policy after Brexit
  • Regional/local/devolved policy in response to changing inter-generational dynamics

For papers, abstracts should be 200-400 words. Proposals for symposia should consist of a title and 200-word outline of the aims of the symposium, as well as details of the organiser, contributors (including email addresses) and abstracts of 200-400 words.

All abstracts and symposium proposals will be reviewed by reviewers from our Programme Committee prior to acceptance.


Abstract submission

Submission link here:

Opens: 31 January 2022

Closes: 14 March 2022

In the case of queries please contact:

Follow updates on the conference on our conference webpage here.


Image: klimkin from Pixabay.