Until Law Do Us Part: An Explorative Study of Attitudes to Polygamy in Italy

Fabio Calzolari


Polygamy – a type of relationship where a person marries more than one partner - is one of the most divisive issues within modern Italian society. Yet, the international literature remains mostly silent on Italian citizens’ reasons against and for it. The present paper fills such a gap by highlighting the narratives of 22 individuals aged between their late-20s and mid-50s. Results show that most participants believe there is a troubling correlation between polygamy and harm to women and children. Slippery slope objections were commonplace in all the discussions. For instance, many respondents asserted that the practice leads to the most radical transformation of the notion of marriage and by consequence, of the family. Others felt it increases the likelihood that unmarried men resort to crime as a means to gain material and symbolic resources such as partners and status. Notably, these perspectives may be expected to mirror those of society at large. Future research should demonstrate whether balance can be struck between the measures required by Italian law to protect people from violence, and preserving the right to marry. However, scholars must avoid playing into the mainstream narrative that polygamy is inherently adversarial to Western values.


Italy, polygamy, gender, migration

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14267/CJSSP.2022.2.5


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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X