Upcoming presentation by Annukka Lahti: ”Place to ‘bi’? Affective negotiations of bisexuality in relationships” (ESA, Athens, Thursday, 31/Aug/2017)

Annukka Lahti will give a presentation in the forthcoming 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA): (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities. The conference will take place n Athens, Greece, 28.9. – 1.9.2017 For more information, please visit: http://esa13thconference.eu/

Please find Lahti’s abstract below:


Place to ‘bi’? Affective negotiations of bisexuality in relationships
Normative western understandings of intimate relationships continue to draw upon discourses of romantic love and finding ‘the one’. Bisexuality, as a desire that cannot be bound to only one object choice within the heterosexual matrix that locates male and female at opposite poles, is persistently culturally associated with temporariness, multiple partners and promiscuity. In my presentation I will explore the affective effects of this for Finnish bisexual women’s and their (ex-)partners’ relationship narration. The study draws on longitudinal interviews conducted in 2005 and 2014–2015. While partnered and in a relationship, participants favoured the conventional relationship discourse, in which the relationship was understood and/or lived as enduring and exclusive union. Woman’s bisexuality was often absent from this talk. When the woman’s bisexuality was discussed, the exclusivity and future-orientation of the relationship became subject to affective negotiation. In the individual follow-up interviews many of the bisexual women also discuss affective experiences of sexual excess beyond cultural relationship and gender norms that complicated their monogamous relationship narratives. My analysis shows that dichotomous and hierarchical categories of gender and (bi)sexuality reproduce these negotiations. Yet I am further interested in what kind of effects affective tensions and intensities, silences and contradiction have and what do they ‘do’ in the participants’ relationship narration, when approached from a psychosocial perspective.