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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 20, Issue 2, 2017

Shelley M. Park
Pages 297-328

Polyamory Is to Polygamy as Queer Is to Barbaric?

This paper critically examines the ways in which dominant poly discourses position polyamorists among other queer and feminist-friendly practices while setting polygamists outside of those practices as the heteronormative and hyper-patriarchal antithesis to queer kinship. I begin by examining the interlocking liberal discourses of freedom, secularism and egalitarianism that frame the putative distinction between polyamory and polygamy. I then argue that the discursive antinomies of polyamory/polygamy demarcate a distinction that has greater affective resonance than logical validity—an affective resonance, moreover, that is built on neocolonial framings of polygamy as barbaric and idealizations of polyamory that whitewash its practices.

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