This thesis examines the intercultural communicative strategies and non-monogamous identity formation of polyamorous individuals. The purpose of this study is to investigate the identity management tactics that polyamorous individuals utilize to navigate a society in which monogamy is the norm. Interactions of polyamorous individuals within a monoganormative society are treated as a type of intercultural communication due to the contrasting cultural identities and communication rules. E-interviews with 38 polyamorous individuals provided basis for phone and Skype interviews. The Retrospective Interview Technique (Huston, Surra, Fitzgerald, & Cate, 1981) required interviewees to recall development of their polyamorous identity and interactions with monogamous others from the past to present day. Twenty-two interviews produced the phases of identity management, including Trial and Error, Enmeshment (Mixing Up), and Renegotiation. Analyzing interviewees' communication also produced the themes of managing stigma and impressions of the relationship identity. Implications of the study include a richer understanding of polyamorous identity management, polyamory as a relationship orientation, and a new perspective in applying identity management theory.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Communication; Interpersonal Communications
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Table, Allison, "Transitions in Polyamorous Identity and Intercultural Communication: An Application of Identity Management Theory" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4883.