Polyamory: Attempting an identitary meta-narrative

Abstract

In this presentation, we will try to frame the appearance of polyamory as an identity within the broader context of socio-cultural changes happening in Western contemporary culture. Through the theoretical framework of Nicholas Rose, Michel Foucault, Ulrich Beck, among others, we will attempt to demonstrate polyamory as a construct arising from three particular and distinctive aspects of western contemporary culture, as an individualized, sexualized and psychologized culture. Each aspect will be characterized and then linked back to the birth of polyamory as a concept; in turn, these links will be analyzed in their tensional characteristics between possible queer/non-normative life alternatives and a rehashing of neo-liberal/post-feminist discourse that can bring about an illusion of subjective empowerment. Of particular importance to this analysis is the role of Psychology, both as field of research into polyamory, and as a techno-social lens through which polyamory is enacted – and the ways through which such a framing might also align itself with neo-liberalism, or with a narrowing down of the political, sexual, social and philosophical implications of polyamory and other critical/consensual non-monogamies.

Keywords: polyamory, sexuality, individualization, psychologization

 

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