Polyamory is an umbrella term denoting the practice of having multiple romantic and intimate relationships with the consent of everyone involved. Within a mononormative culture, becoming polyamorous may be associated with uncertainty and a feeling of being suspended. Moreover, the preferential attitude towards monogamy marginalises polyamory as indecent and corrupt, creating feelings of shame and social isolation. Our research explored the discursive construction of polyamory in Italy by identifying the strategies used to deal with such identity construction and social recognition issues. We conducted 15 semistructured interviews with people who defined themselves as polyamorous. Our discourse analysis identified a narrative that overturns the dominant hegemonic perspective; this narrative presented monogamy as a practice generating difficulties and problems and polyamory as a thoroughly satisfying and adequate relational modality. This narrative was constructed using six discursive strategies, allowing participants to achieve three discursive purposes. By naturalising polyamory and constructing it as a stable trait, participants essentialised polyamory; by providing a normative definition of polyamory and identifying with the polyamorous community, they set up the boundaries of polyamory; finally, by moralising polyamory and attributing transformative power to it, they valorised polyamory. Overall, the definition of a polyamorous order allows for the integration of polyamory into one’s life, even if polyamorists remain a minority group trapped in the public liminality brought about by a mononormative culture.

Montali, L., Frigerio, A., Spina, F., Zulato, E. (2022). The Discursive Construction of Polyamory: Legitimising an Alternative to Monogamy. SEXUALITY & CULTURE, 1-22 [10.1007/s12119-022-10044-0].

The Discursive Construction of Polyamory: Legitimising an Alternative to Monogamy

Lorenzo Montali
Primo
;
Alessandra Frigerio
Secondo
;
Edoardo Zulato
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Polyamory is an umbrella term denoting the practice of having multiple romantic and intimate relationships with the consent of everyone involved. Within a mononormative culture, becoming polyamorous may be associated with uncertainty and a feeling of being suspended. Moreover, the preferential attitude towards monogamy marginalises polyamory as indecent and corrupt, creating feelings of shame and social isolation. Our research explored the discursive construction of polyamory in Italy by identifying the strategies used to deal with such identity construction and social recognition issues. We conducted 15 semistructured interviews with people who defined themselves as polyamorous. Our discourse analysis identified a narrative that overturns the dominant hegemonic perspective; this narrative presented monogamy as a practice generating difficulties and problems and polyamory as a thoroughly satisfying and adequate relational modality. This narrative was constructed using six discursive strategies, allowing participants to achieve three discursive purposes. By naturalising polyamory and constructing it as a stable trait, participants essentialised polyamory; by providing a normative definition of polyamory and identifying with the polyamorous community, they set up the boundaries of polyamory; finally, by moralising polyamory and attributing transformative power to it, they valorised polyamory. Overall, the definition of a polyamorous order allows for the integration of polyamory into one’s life, even if polyamorists remain a minority group trapped in the public liminality brought about by a mononormative culture.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
Polyamory; Liminality; Stigma; Discourse analysis; Italy
English
1
22
22
Montali, L., Frigerio, A., Spina, F., Zulato, E. (2022). The Discursive Construction of Polyamory: Legitimising an Alternative to Monogamy. SEXUALITY & CULTURE, 1-22 [10.1007/s12119-022-10044-0].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/397495
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