Negative Freedom vs. Positive Freedom (or, Why Most of Us May Be Doing Non-Monogamy Wrong)
Have you ever felt that one of your relationships was not respecting your freedom to explore your feelings or sexuality? Or that your needs were not being tended to fairly? Have you ever been told to “just go with the flow” or to “own your own shit?”
In this workshop, we are going to explore some of the most common conflicts and struggles that populate non-monogamous relationships, approaching them from the theoretical framework of Positive vs. Negative Freedom. We’ll borrow this general approach from the political theorist Isaiah Berlin, but we will apply it directly to romantic/sexual relationships…because this is xplore.
Through both theoretical expository and practical, guided in-pairs/group conversations, we will explore our own relationship hardships to approach solving them in a kinder, healthier and more efficient way. To do so, we will examine the dual ideas of Social Power (and how it is unfairly distributed from a gender standpoint) and Emotional Labour (and how it is unfairly expected from some while ignored — and even mocked — by others).
This workshop is relevant to people across the non-monogamous spectrum, from folks new to open relationships who may still be doing “don’t ask don’t tell” to seasoned relationship anarchists who still struggle with expressing their desires while respecting the limits of others. Recommended for singles, couples, triads or polycules who want to improve their communication dynamics and put “caring” at the center of their romantic connections (… as we all should!).
Isam is one of the administrators of Poliamor Catalunya — the biggest digital community of non-monogamous folk in the Catalan territory. He has mainly worked as a Creativity and Communication professor in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and has given talks and published on the topics of creativity, education and gender. He is currently writing his PhD dissertation on the negative effects of grades on the teaching of advertising creativity. He is also a musician (ask me about black metal!) and a former scout leader.