This book introduces "the poly gaze" as a cultural tool to examine how representations of polyamory and poly lives reflect or challenge cultural hegemonies of race, class, gender, and nation.

What role does monogamy play in American Identity, the American dream, and U.S. exceptionalism? How do the stories we tell about intimate relationships do cultural and ideological work to maintain and legitimize social inequalities along the lines of race, ethnicity, nation, religion, class, gender and sexuality? How might the introduction of polyamory or consensually non-monogamous relationships in the stories we tell about intimacy confound, disrupt or shift the meaning of what constitutes a good, American life? These are the questions that Mimi Schippers focuses on in this original and engaging study. As she develops the poly gaze, Schippers argues for a sociologically informed and cultivated lens with which anyone, regardless of their experiences with polyamory or consensual non-monogamy, can read culture, media images, and texts against hegemony.

This will be a key text for researchers and students in Gender Studies, Queer Studies, Cultural Studies, Critical Race Studies, Media Studies, American Studies and Sociology. This book is accessible and indispensable reading for undergraduate student and postgraduates wanting to gain greater understanding of debates around the key concept of heteronormativity.

chapter 1|17 pages

Introduction to the poly gaze

Mononormative narrative, poly narrative, and social inequality

chapter 2|21 pages

The polygamous other and American identity

chapter 3|28 pages

Casual sex on campus

The mononormative narratives told about sexual relationships in heterosexual hookup cultures

chapter 6|20 pages

The (poly) love that dare not speak its name

Poly kinship as a design for living queerly

chapter 7|10 pages

Conclusion: From poly reading to poly living

Poly lives in a time of neo-fascism