Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review 4: Border Sexualities, Border Families in Schools, Chapter 2

Review 4:

Pallota-Chiarolli, M. (2010). Border sexualities, border families in schools. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Second chapter: 'On the Bi- and Poly-Borders': Theorizing Dichotomy and Diversity. Pp. 29-73.

An excellent go-over on the socio/cultural status and identity of bi and poly individuals. It builds strong fundamentals for the points listed previously. Of particular note is more flushing out on the 'pass, border' pollute' models. I'm still seeing a lot of potential correlation between these three models and exposure impacts with adultery, bigamy and fornication laws. Without getting into too much detail, they are (in context of my research):

Passing: Effectively to sublimate one's non-monogamy to 'pass' as normal in the larger society. Exposure problems are likely to be minimal, but much more traumatic if exposed, due to the extra psychological and socio/cultural impact of that exposure. (pp 63-8)

Bordering: This is the one I understand the least, but the analogy that the author uses the most is 'fence sitting'. Unlike passing, which keeps non-monogamy private, and polluting, which is effectively full exposure, bordering seems to occupy the grey area between, where individuals are selectively exposed and hidden. I'm hoping that there's more elaboration on bordering, as it strikes me as an important component in understanding exposure in my research. (pp 68-70)

Polluting: Effectively the 'I'm here, deal with it' approach. Polluters don't sublimate themselves for the society, and as such have the highest level of exposure, with the least amount of indirect consequences from exposure. It's hard to be traumatized from being 'outed' when you're constantly 'outing' yourself (-: The author also describes this model as having an almost Socratic examination on norms, where nothing is taken for granted, and it's all questioned. (pp 70-3)

Also, the question comes up as to how policy affects individual/family choice to adopt a pass, border, or pollute strategy?

Other important take-away ideas for my research:

What power 'discourses of authenticity' have, and how policy shapes that for non-monogamists. (pg. 31)

Ideas on how policy can shape cultural taboos that 'silence' non-monogamists. (pg. 32)

Issues of group inclusion when there's no acceptance of non-monogamy, and no alternative groups to associate with. Shouldn't policy help to create spaces where silence is lifted, instead of helping to reinforce silence? (pg. 33)

Interesting compilation of what stats on on-monogamy are out there. Unfortunately there's no such thing as a representative sample in any study that's been done on non-monogamy. (pg. 48)

Building on the lack of cultural access, there is a desire for more "positive texts and media resources to be made available about their families to the general public". There's something here that I'm feeling is very important to the research I'm doing, but can't lock it down exactly yet. (pg 49)

Very good read, and I'm hoping for some solid examples of pass/border/pollute later in the book, which can help me understand the concepts better, as well as give me some specific behaviors I can connect to exposure levels in my current research. I know I got a lot from this because of the 2.5 pages of notes I made on this chapter (-:

- Jason

Monday, February 20, 2012

Review 3: Border Sexualities, Border Families in Schools, Chapter 1

Author's Note:

I'm moving towards reading books (that have been long sitting in my collection, in dire need of reading!!!). Since the length of these books is rather hefty compared to the other articles I've read, I'll be doing this by chapters, and not by the entire book (I'd have to be mad for that!). I'm also moving to a more informal style, since these posts double as my note-keeping even moreso than my state reviews, and I don't want to hassle with formal writing on these too much (-:

- Jason


Review 3:
Pallota-Chiarolli, M. (2010). Border sexualities, border families in schools. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
First chapter: 'Messing up the school sex filing cabinet': Introducing the Research. Pp. 1-27

Though, like most introductory chapters, there's a lot glanced over very quickly, it's easy to see this book will have some valuable nuggets of information in helping to review the state laws. Of key interest are:

1) The idea that helping polyamorous families is 'pro-family', though this seems somewhat contingent on the actual number of poly families out there.(pg. 11)
2) One of the interview quotes that is used identifies the lack of accessibility to polyamory & bisexuality in the broader culture. I'm hoping to (and expect to) see more on this later in the book. (pp. 22-3)
3) How the 'public sphere' is created, and [my thoughts] how policy influences the level of silence and openness allowed in such public spaces, as well as the broader impacts of that silence and openness. This really connects to an earlier interview quote as well: "You do adultery and affairs on earth but not honest polyamory." (pg. 23 for concept, pg 11 for quote).
4) I absolutely love the 'pass, border, pollute' model used here. I ran into it earlier in the Understanding Nonomongamies collection, but somehow it really hit home this time around that these three models could plug in very nicely to the levels of exposure I keep hinting about in my state reviews. (pg 26)
5) More of a for-the-future note, but the idea of passionate sociology is very appealing to me, both personally and as a persuasive/rhetorical method for making normative arguments in a policy spectrum. Consider that this kind of dialog is used in politics already, imagine the effect if it's backed by actual research instead of political dogma? Ok, granted I'm getting overly politicking here, but it's a legitimate concern for actual social change, how does one move from solid research to social change? passionate sociology strikes me as having a built-in mechanism to provide the impact necessary to convince people of the importance of the subject. (pp. 19-25)

Of particular interest to me are points 3 and 4, as I can see the strongest connections between those issues and the policy that I'm studying, both for the present and the future.

Until next chapter!

- Jason

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review 2: Marriage and the Norm of Monogamy

Author's Note:

Back on the proverbial horse, here's another review. School and life are still getting in the way, but I do intend to get caught up here...

- Jason


Review 2
Weaver, B. & Wollard, F. (2008) Marriage and the norm of monogamy. Monist, 91(3/4), 506-522. Retrieved from

Weaver and Wollard’s work takes the reader through a series of logical steps in identifying the psychological and practical reasons for individuals to choose monogamy and non-monogamy. After a lengthly setup, outlining the assumptions and operational variables used, monogamy and non-monogamy are looked at primarily from a practical (resource-driven) and emotional (is this helpful or hurtful?) perspective.

Weaver and Wollard intentionally avoid policy and social issues, approaching the issue exclusively from a personal choice perspective, and identify three circumstances that allow for monogamy to be healthy, from an individual perspective. These are:

1)      The couple responds to the value of sex within the marriage by seeing all sexual activity as having a special significance.
2)      The spouses’ needs for erotic love are fulfilled by the relationship
3)      The relationship is sufficiently important to justify accepting restrictions to protect it.

Weaver and Wollard identify that all three should be net to provide a helpful monogamous relationship. Outside of these three circumstances, Weaver and Wollard identify a realm where the monogamous norm is not helpful to apply, and that some variation of non-monogamy is better suited to meet the relationship needs.

From a policy perspective, the primary role of this piece is to identify a legitimate personal benefit of non-monogamy, as relationships that don’t meet the three circumstances can be unhealthy and harmful in completely monogamous setting.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lit Review Fail Week

Not a great way to kick things off... The beginning of the semester caught me more off-guard than expected so I'm very behind on the literature review. Yes, I botched it, two weeks with nothing :-( Working on it!

- Jason