How do Social Movements Decide to Move? Polyamorous Relationships and Legal Mobilization
University of California, Hastings College of the Law
May 29, 2005
Many social movements mobilize for legal rights, though there is controversy about the motivation for doing so. The recent debate about same-sex marriages raises the question whether attaining public legal status for private relationships is important for instrumental, political or cultural-symbolic reasons. This project addresses this question from the perspective of a social movement which has not, so far, sought legal status - the polyamorous community. Polyamory is a nontraditional lifestyle involving relationships between more than two partners. Focusing on interviews with salient and active members of the polyamorous community in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as on polyamorous publications and online activity, the study (still a work in progress) examines why there have been no large-scale efforts to attain a public legal status for the private choice to lead a polyamorous relationship or build a polyamorous family, and explores the conditions under which mobilization would be initiated.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: Sociology of law, social movements, legal mobilization, legal consciousness, gender, queer theory, sexuality, polyamory
JEL Classification: J78
Date posted: May 25, 2005