Undoing Monogamy: The Politics of Science and the Possibilities of Biology
Making Our Poly Nature: Monogamy’s Inversion and the Reproduction of Difference
This chapter examines feminist challenges to the prevailing naturalization of monogamy in the form of often quite marginalized claims about the naturalness of nonmonogamy. It demonstrates how these stories present certain kinds of challenges to compulsory monogamy and at the same time leave intact many of the assumptions about sexuality, biology, and difference underlying the naturalization of monogamy. It extends an analysis of the politics of science to these counternarratives by foregrounding a capacious understanding of science: one that includes claims about nature grounded in the language and theoretical frames of scientific ways of knowing and enjoying the status of scientific authority, in whatever context it does. Through close readings of scientific and popular polyamory literature the chapter shows that minoritizing and universalizing claims about nonmonogamy’s naturalness collude to reproduce sexuality as the truth of the self and coupling as a normative value in ways that renaturalize racial difference.