Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (UNL) Conference System, 1st Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies Conference

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Collective parenthood: Poly networks and parenting practices
Cornelia Schadler

##manager.scheduler.building##: B Tower
##manager.scheduler.room##: T11
Date: 2015-09-25 04:30 PM – 06:00 PM
Last modified: 2015-08-08


In my talk I will explore the everyday practices of parents in polyamorous relationships in Germany and Austria. These polyamorous networks live within structures where two people relationships are the norm and poly-relationships of various kinds are mostly not intelligible. Consequently institutions from health care to custody laws are not accustomed to cases of collective parenthood. The talk shall explore the problems poly networks face when they are parents, as well as the resources that are available to them.

The talk will further describe the everyday practices of collective parenthood and parents in non-monogamous relationships. In my empirical data I found three forms of poly-parents: a) parents that simulate monogamous couples b) networks that include mainly responsible parents and co-parents and c) collective parents where three or four are equally responsible parents. Everyday practices are concerned with dividing work between parents and co-parents and managing time for relationships. I will also analyze role of these practices in transgressing social structures. Does collective parenting undermine dominant gender roles and hierarchies in society? Analysis shows that the practices of collective parenting can be subversive and very affirmative at once. The multiple layers of equality and inequality resulting from these processes are discussed.

The Data includes face to face interviews, public diaries and e-mail interviews with members of poly-relationships, observations within poly-relationships and websites about and from poly-relationship-organizations.