Polyamory means consensual, aspirationally gender-egalitarian, non-monogamous relationships. People who engage in such relationships often seek relationship advice. This article is a critical review of a self-help webcomic and other texts in the light of contract theory. Polyamorous people often use contractual concepts to understand their relationships and how to carry them out. Applying critical contract theory, we can trace how problems typical of contractual framing in other fields play out in the poly context. At the same time, these problems are recognized and responded to by poly people, and these people dynamically reinterpret core contract concepts. This article thus makes two contributions. First, it provides a study in the way legal concepts percolate out into, and are transformed by, everyday life. Second, in consolidating some ways poly people have solved old contract problems, it offers conceptual tools for the continuing project of imagining more just ways of relating.
Enman-Beech, John, Drawing Contract and Polyamory Together (March 11, 2021). (2021) 36 Canadian Journal of Law and Society (forthcoming).