Darren Langdridge and myself have just put together for an edited collection
on open non-monogamous relationships (see attached and below for details).
If you are interested in the project please let us have a brief abstract for
your proposed book chapter to consider by the end of August. If you have any
queries, please don't hesitate to contact myself ([log in to unmask]) or
Darren ([log in to unmask]) for more information.
If you know of anybody else who is researching or writing in this area,
please feel free to forward on this email to them or to any relevant mailing
lists which you are on.
Email: [log in to unmask]
Call for contributions
Edited by: Dr. Meg Barker & Dr. Darren Langdridge
Dr. Meg Barker, Psychology Department, Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences,
London South Bank University, 103 Borough Road, London, SE1 0AA. Email:
[log in to unmask]
Dr. Darren Langdridge, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University,
Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA. Email: [log in to unmask]
Most psychological and social scientific work on intimate relationships has
assumed a monogamous structure, or has considered anything other than
monogamy in the context of ‘infidelity’. Openly non-monogamous patterns of
relating have been largely excluded from research and theory (Barker, 2007).
Pieper and Bauer (2005) termed this exclusion ‘mono-normativity’, and such
privileging of the monogamous couple can be seen as part of wider
heteronormative discourses which explicitly or implicitly present the
‘opposite-sex’ dyad as the ‘natural’, ‘normal’ or ‘ideal’ way of being.
There is little recognition of the growing numbers of ‘opposite-sex’ couples
who are involved in swinging, polyamory, or some other form of open
non-monogamy (e.g. McDonald, 2007), or of the significant numbers of those
in gay, bisexual, and to some extent, lesbian communities, who are involved
in openly non-monogamous relationships (e.g. Adam, 2006; Klesse, 2005; Musen
& Stelboum, 1999). Calls for various forms of relationship recognition for
same-sex couples have been seen, by some, as part of a continued
marginalisation of those who practice their relationship in less
‘traditional’ ways, with Michael Warner, and others, arguing that such
drives towards normalisation reify dominant and ‘damaging hierarchies of
respectability’ (1999, p.74).
In recent years there has been a growing interest in exploring various
patterns of intimacy which involve open non-monogamy (e.g. Adam, 2004;
Barker, 2004; Jackson & Scott, 2004). This has culminated recently in an
international conference on mono-normativity (Pieper & Bauer, 2005) and a
special issue of the international journal Sexualities on polyamory: ‘a form
of relationship where it is possible, valid and worthwhile to maintain
(usually long-term) intimate and sexual relationships with multiple partners
simultaneously’ (Haritaworn, Lin & Klesse, 2006, p.515). Research on the
topic has captured public attention with a flood of newspaper coverage in
2005 following the presentation of Ritchie & Barker’s research on the
language of polyamory (see Ritchie & Barker, 2006). Open non-monogamy could
be seen as a burgeoning ‘sexual story’, with over a million google hits for
the topic of polyamory alone, and a growing number of ‘self-help’ style
books on the topic (e.g. Anapol, 1997; Easton & Liszt, 1997; Taormino,
The proposed book seeks to provide further discussion and debate about open
non-monogamous relationships. We are keen to invite empirical and
theoretical pieces considering the various non-monogamous patterns in
existence today. We welcome empirical and theoretical work concerned with
the history and cultural basis of various forms of non-monogamy, experiences
of non-monogamous living, psychological understandings of relationship
patterns, language and emotion, and the discursive construction of
mono-normativity. We are keen to invite submissions that address issues of
race, class and disability, as well as sexuality and gender. We also wish to
include political and activist writing, as well as pieces from community
representatives. We are not seeking work that pathologises open non-monogamy
or focuses on ‘infidelity’. Nor are we looking for anthropological studies
on polygamy and polyandry.
We hope to include contributions from academics and activists from as wide a
range of countries as possible, especially those traditionally
under-represented in academic and activist writing in the English language.
Prospective authors are invited to contact the editors at the earliest
possible opportunity to discuss potential submissions. The closing date for
chapter abstracts is 31st August 2007 and (provisionally) for completed
chapters 31st March 2008 (electronic submission preferred).
Adam, B. D. (2004). Care, Intimacy and Same-Sex Partnership in the 21st
Century. Current Sociology, 52(2), 265–279
Adam, B. D. (2006). Relationship Innovation in Male Couples. Sexualities,
Anapol, D. M. (1997). Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits. California,
US: IntiNet Resource Centre.
Barker, M. (2004). This is my partner, and this is my… partner’s partner:
Constructing a polyamorous identity in a monogamous world. Journal of
Constructivist Psychology, 18, 75-88.
Barker, M. (2007). Heteronormativity and the exclusion of bisexuality in
psychology. In V. Clarke and E. Peel (Eds.) Out In Psychology: Lesbian, gay,
bisexual and trans perspectives. pp. 86-118 Chichester: Wiley.
Easton, D. and Liszt, C. A. (1997). The Ethical Slut. California, US:
Jackson, S. and Scott, S. (2004). The personal is still political:
heterosexuality, feminism and monogamy. Feminism & Psychology, 14 (1)
Klesse, C. (2005). Bisexual Women, Non-Monogamy and Differentialist
Anti-Promiscuity Discourses. Sexualities, 8(4), 445-464.
McDonald, D. (in press). Swings and roundabouts: management of jealousy in
heterosexual 'swinging' couples. British Journal of Social Psychology.
Munsen, M. and Stelboum, J. P. (Eds.) (1999). The Lesbian Polyamory Reader.
NY: Harrington Park Press.
Pieper, M. & Bauer, R. (2005). Call for Papers: International Conference on
Polyamory and Mono-normativity. Research Centre for Feminist, Gender & Queer
Studies, University of Hamburg, November 5 th/6th 2005.
Ritchie, A. & Barker, M. (2006). ‘There aren’t words for what we do or how
we feel so we have to make them up’: Constructing polyamorous languages in a
culture of compulsory monogamy. Sexualities, 9(5), 584 - 601.
Taormino, T. (forthcoming, 2007). Opening up: A Guide to Polyamory. Cleis
Warner, M. (1999). The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics and Social Theory.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.