Politics and polyamory – Gendered online discourses about non-monogamies and (in)civility

Daniel Cardoso

Marisa Torres da Silva

Ana Rosa



This presentation focuses on an exploratory research on how debates around polyamory are dependent on the acknowledgment of (non-)monogamies as political topics or not. Taking into consideration the contested space of intimate citizenship, we are currently analyzing the Facebook online comments made with respect to a Portuguese TV newspiece from 2014 that framed polyamory as a political topic, by associating it with the anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the fascist Estado Novo regime in 1974. We analyzed the comments left on the media’s official pages by means of content analysis using NVivo 11, and performed Critical Discourse Analysis on part of those comments. Our results show that polyamory is often relegated to the apolitical by means of a liberal stance on “personal choices”, by both detractors and supporters, and that incivility is strongly gendered, especially from those who claim that polyamory is unacceptable or the sign of moral and social decay. There was also considerable overlap between comments supporting people’s right to be polyamorous and incivility, demonstrating how political discussion is layered and non-binary. These results call into question the functioning of social networks as public spheres of political discussion, and emphasize the importance of recognition of Othered identities for public debate.


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