Call for Proposals Special Issue of Sexualities Journal on Polyamory, Parenting, and Care

Image: Black cover of journal Sexualities
Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Sexualities:
Parenting, Polyamory and Consensual Nonmonogamy. Critical and Queer Perspecti

Guest Editors:
Daniel Cardoso (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Christian Klesse (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (Deakin University, Australia)
Michael Raab (Associate Lecturer, Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Germany)
Cornelia Schadler (University of Vienna, Austria)
Mimi Schippers (Tulane University, USA)

In recent years, we have witnessed the burgeoning of research into polyamory and consensual non-monogamy (CNM) (for overviews, see Barker and Langdridge 2010, Klesse 2018). The special Issue on Polyamory published in this journal in 2006 has played an important role establishing a research agenda around alterative family relationships (Haritaworn et al. 2006). Despite a growing recognition of CNM and polyamory as an important aspect of relational and familial diversity, key issues have remained underexplored. In particular, parenting has been treated as a taboo issue within in multi-adult intimate relationships. As a result of this, the social, legal, educational and pedagogical issues pertaining to polyamorous parenting practices have remained poorly discussed within academic literature. Pioneering research that has emerged only over the last few years documents a widely shared sense of stigmatisation and regulation among polyamorous parents and parents in other complex multi-adult family units (Goldfeder and Sheff 2013, Sheff 2014, Pallotta-Chiarolli et al. 2013). Currently we do not know much about the details of parenting arrangements, gendered divisions of labour, care practices or the negotiation of social and biological parenting roles (Schadler 2016, Raab 2019). In the absence of such knowledge, it is also difficult to appreciate the transformative potential of polyamorous and CNM parenting practices. Those committed to such alternative ways of child rearing often engage in conscious strategies of resistance, against oppressive or heteronormative gender scripts, biologistic definitions of the family, and the individualistic and privatised care practices fostered by neoliberal capitalist social and economic relations (Schippers 2016).

We would like to dedicate a special issue on parenting, care and resistance in polyamorous and CNM relationships.

We welcome contributions from different angles, including
 CNM and poly parenting in lesbian, gay male, bisexual, queer and trans* relational contexts
 People of colour, CNMs and polyamorous parenting
 Gender and divisions of labour in CNM relationships
 Migration and transnational intimacies and families
 Household organisation (spaces, finances, routines)
 Educational concerns and pedagogical approaches
 Legal frameworks, constraints and strategies
 Representations of CNM and Poly Parenting and Kinship
 CNM and Poly Parenting in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic

If you wish to contribute to the Special Issue, please, upload an abstract of 250-300 words (including 5 key words, a short biographical note and your contact details) by 30 July 2020 at You will hear from us by 15 September 2020. In the case that we will invite you to contribute a full-length article, we will ask you to submit a manuscript of up to 7,000 words using Manuscript Central by no later than 15 January 2021. All articles will then go through the peer review process of Sexualities. If you have any questions regarding this process or the Special Issue itself, please, contact the editorial at

Barker M and Langdridge D (2010) Whatever happened to non-monogamies? Critical reflections on recent research and theory. Sexualities 13(6): 748–772.
Goldfeder M and Sheff E (2013) Children of polyamorous families: A first empirical look. LSD Journal 5: 150–243.
Haritaworn J, Lin CJ and Klesse C (eds) (2006) Special issue: Polyamory. Sexualities 9(5).
Klesse C (2018) Theorising multi-partner relationships and sexualities – Recent work on nonmonogamy and polyamory. Sexualities 21(7): 1109–1124.
Pallotta-Chiarolli M, Haydon P and Hunter A (2013) ‘These are our children’: Polyamorous parenting. In: Goldberg A and Allen K (eds) LGBT-Parent families: Innovations in research and implications for practice. New York: Springer: 117–131.
Sheff E (2014) The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Schadler, C (2016) How to define ever transforming family configurations? A new materialist approach. Journal of Family Theory & Review 8/4: 503-514
Schippers M (2016) Beyond monogamy: Polyamory and the future of polyqueer sexualities. New York: New York University Press.
Raab, M (2019) Care in konsensuell-nichtmonogamen Beziehungsnetzwerken. Sorgende Netze jenseits der Norm (Care in consensual non-monogamous relationship networks. Caring networks beyond the norm). Leverkusen: Barbara Budrich Verlag.


Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, PhD, CASA, CSE

One of a handful of global experts on polyamory and the foremost international expert on children in polyamorous families, Dr. Elisabeth Sheff has studied gender and
families of sexual minorities for the last 16 years. Sheff’s television appearances include CNN, and the National Geographic, and she has given more than 20 radio, podcast, print, and television interviews with sources from Radio Slovenia to National Public Radio, the Sunday London Times to the Boston Globe and Newsweek. By emphasizing research methodology and findings in her discussions, Dr. Sheff presents the kind of public intellectualism that encourages audience members to think critically regarding gender, sexualities, and families.

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