Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Polly McLean

Second Advisor

Patrick Greaney

Third Advisor

Janet Jacobs

Fourth Advisor

Kelty Logan

Fifth Advisor

Michael Tracey

Abstract

This dissertation examines the role of media and media technologies in the polyamory movement from its emergence in 1984 until present day, 2016. Polyamory individuals and the media they produced have helped educate and support individuals within the polyamory community, as well as create external awareness and increase visibility in the public sphere. The shift from modern traditional communication technologies which fosters one-to-many communication models, to postmodern alternative new media technologies which utilize many-to-many communication models are mapped upon the changing social and cultural landscape as it pertains to identity formation, particularly as it relates to the shift in the relationship models of polyamory from a deconstructionist nuclear family model to a queering individualistic non-hierarchical model. Employing textual and discourse analysis of the archived material from the Kenneth R. Haslam Collection at The Kinsey Institute, as well as conducting semi-structured interviews of major polyamory media practitioners, this project illuminates the ways in which media have been strategically used to achieve public visibility and to counter mono-normative discourses that privilege monogamy as the normative.

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