'Polyamory' Symposium

Overview

Symposium presented at the IASR 2012, on July 11th, 2012, with the participation of Sari van Anders, Alex Iantaffi and Daniel Cardoso.

Below are the materials presented at the conference, as well as the audio recordings of the event, in English.

 

Abstracts and Presentations...

 

Models and management of poly relationships and poly parenting

Alex Iantaffi

In this presentation, I will provide an overview of language used to describe polyamorous relationship configurations, and illustrate those with examples derived from a systematic analysis of the existing literature. Key issues pertaining to researching poly relationships will be discussed, and tensions between different disciplinary approaches to this topic will also be addressed.

The issue of parenting within poly relationship configurations will be explored, including a presentation of findings from a pilot qualitative, narrative study of poly queer families (11 poly parents, 1 adult child and 3 younger children) in the UK and US. Findings indicate the importance of adopting an intersectional lens, especially when researching poly parenting, in order to be able to address the complex identities and lives of the people involved in those systems. The theory of intersectionality will also be discussed as way to investigate how other systems (e.g., gender identity, sexuality, race/ethnicity, (dis)ability, class) influence models and managements of poly systems and parenting.

 

Audio

Presentation

PowerPoint can be downloaded here.


 

Polyamory and hormones in relational context

Sari M. van Anders

Scholarly attention to polyamory and other forms of negotiated non-monogamy has grown sharply, in parallel with public awareness of these approaches to sexual and romantic relationships. This literature has often been oriented towards thinking critically and/or clinically about polyamory as an identity and/or form of liberatory sexual expression. In addition, this research has often focused on situating polyamory in relation to intersecting identities around gender, feminism, family structure, sexual orientation, kink communities etc. Two generally separate lines of research tend to cluster around relationships (e.g. attachment, quality, longevity) or sexuality (e.g. health, behavior, function) in monoamorous individuals. In this talk, I will discuss sexuality in polyamorous and monoamorous individuals, attending to its relational context. I will discuss data gathered using quantitative and bioscientific approaches, including hormonal findings, complementing and adding to the vast majority of existing polyamory research that is conducted from narrative, cultural, and qualitative perspectives.

First, I will discuss early hormonal research that supports the distinctiveness of polyamory and monoamory, and that highlights internal diversities among polyamorously identified individuals that relate to identity and behavior. Second, I will discuss data on expressions of sexual and nonsexual intimacy within polyamorous and monoamorous individuals that highlights similarities and distinctions, from a project that conducted a detailed examination of cuddling among partnered individuals. Third, I will detail preliminary data from an ongoing longitudinal investigation into hormonal changes over time in association with relationship changes in polyamorous and monoamorous individuals, and dynamic processes in sexual identifications.

I will conclude by discussing the implications of our research for understanding polyamory as a relationship approach and identity that is both distinct and situated within the broader scope of relationships and partnering, including pair bonds. I will also discuss the benefits, challenges, and issues related to incorporating sexually diverse – and especially sexual minority – individuals into empirical, quantitative, and bioscientific research programs.

 

Audio

Presentation

PowerPoint can be downloaded here.


 

‘Communicate, communicate, communicate': Sexual and intimacy ethics in polyamory

Daniel S. Cardoso

 

This presentation is focused on polyamory as an identity, and on the discourse in which that identity is anchored. By analyzing one year of e-mails exchanged in the alt.polyamory mailing list, we see that communication is, at the same time, an important but also a complex matter, one that is at the center of polyamorous ethical practices, within a context of caring for the self.

By utilizing a foucauldian approach to ethical subjectivity, we seek to ascertain how conversation and communication are transformed into ethopoietic mechanisms, based around frankness, and thus giving rise to a definition of what isn't polyamory: the breach of such frankness. At the same time, this ethical work involved in becoming a polyamorous subject can also be transformed into a neo-liberal mandate of sel-control and self-improvement, that goes against the aesthetical notion of the care of the self - thus giving way to a poly-normativity.

 

Audio

Presentation

PowerPoint can be downloaded here.