Endorsed Research

RAC Endorsement R2015-02 (Mueller) Performed Polygamy and Polyamory in the Media Age

The Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS) has completed a community and technical review of Ms. Michelle Mueller's study, Performed Polygamy and Polyamory in the Media Age.

The CARAS Research Advisory Committee (RAC) has voted to grant a formal endorsement for the protocol.  The RAC believes that this protocol has scholarly merit, follows standard ethical procedures and policies, and offers a prospect of benefit to the community being addressed.

RAC members participating in this review were Richard A. Sprott, Ph.D. (Chair; developmental psychology); Bert Cutler, Ph.D. (sexology); Yulia Brockdorf, MA (clinical sexology); Thomas Peterson, Ph.D. (religious studies); and Bessie Vaughan, MLIS (library sciences).

From Michelle Mueller's application:

Research Overview

My dissertation is a project in religion and media studies. In this dissertation, I will analyze how fundamentalist Mormon and spiritual polyamorous families use the shared medium of reality television to do advocacy and educate the public about their traditions and culture. I will explore how religious and spiritual countercultural families are using 21st century new media to do tel-education rather than televangelism.

In my research, I will rely largely on published media, conducting content analysis on the aired episodes of Sister Wives, My Five Wives, and Polyamory: Married & Dating. My human subjects related research is limited to interviews and fieldwork (participant observation and field notes during community events, such as gatherings of independent fundamentalist Mormon families in Utah and Nevada, Poly Potlucks in San Diego, and International School of Temple Arts (ISTA) conference (May 22-24, 2015, Montreal).

As this is a study of religion and the media, I will interview people responsible for the series where possible: Sister Wives, My Five Wives, and Polyamory: Married and Dating cast members, directors, production staff and people who receive the series: fans (whom I will reach from the TV shows' social media pages) and polygamy/polyamory advocacy organizations and their subscribers (members of mailing lists).

October 31, 2015