SOC327 2017 Tut5 – Mon 1330

Isn’t it nice to be in love? Isn’t the feeling of love wonderful? But wait – are we talking about the enticing, heart-pounding, sexualised passionate form of love, or the steady-as-she goes companionate form of love we feel for friends, families and partners we’ve known a long time? Or are we talking about something else? Should love be overwhelming or considered? Perhaps it depends on our social context.

The experience and structures of love and intimacy in society have changed over time. Love in the Victorian Era involved published etiquette-based rules of courtship, and considerations of many things besides how one simply felt – there was one’s gender, class, finances, and the social respectability that came with marriage and family to keep in mind. Moving into contemporary times, Anthony Giddens describes the ‘transformation of intimacy’ in the later 20th century ‘late modern’ period, which continues today. We have so much more independence now from the constraints of traditional family and gender roles, that we can (and do) seek love and the ‘pure relationship’ in any number of forms. And Eva Illouz argues that this has created a society of commitment shy people – men in particular – and new inequalities in gender and intimacy.

What do you think? Has love changed? Is ‘all fair’ in love and sex these days?

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23 Comments

  1. I think society has really changed with how people show their love for someone. With the rise of technology young love is displayed through cryptic text messages or ‘liking’ a photo on Facebook and Instagram. The romantic idea of ‘courtship’ is long gone. Love really has evolved with the times.

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    • I agree with the ideas you have raised. However, I find it interesting to also consider how or if other societies in the world with little to no technology have had their experience of love change over time too. And if yes, how or why?

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  2. I agree with Brittany completely, and I think people show their love for someone online differently from how they would in person. Furthermore, the rise of online dating has transformed what people call intimacy. Technology has the power to transform people’s ideologies of commitment and intimacy, and really change the ‘traditional constraints’ of a loving relationship. I agree with Jamieson (1999), when she stated that “intimacy remains multidimensional”, and I think there is no ‘one box fits all’ approach in a complex and forever changing society, especially in contemporary times.

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  3. I too believe that love has changed along with society. Among modern cultures, many societies have found freedom in how they express, feel and describe love. Love has been redefined from chivalry and courtship, due to the feminism movement, and has since been reevaluated to exist on an equal playing field between women and men. Although, it is still common to notice a dichotomy between shallow, commitment-fearful relationships that are fundamentally based on sexual experiences, compared to those that are intimate and passionate and wholesome.

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  4. I believe love has certainly changed, but has also stayed the same in some regards. For instance, there are still articles such as “use this 5 tips to impress your crush” which are similar to the rules of courtship previously used. One could argue that instead of changing, love had evolved into something that fits into modern society. Love has changed, having more than one partner in a lifetime is much more acceptable. In the end though, love is socially constructed and as such we will always be unable to properly define it, although good attempts have been made.

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  5. I also agree, online dating/technology is changing the way people connect and form relationships. People now have the ability to defy ‘traditional relationships’ by engaging in romantic and loving ways that were deemed impossible a century ago. I believe there is a multitude of ways a person can love, and be loved.
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  6. The boundaries of love are hard to define in a modern context due to the rise of freedom, which has provided individuals with the opportunity to make choices concerning their sexual representation and their sexual partners. This has allowed individuals to define their own relationships on their own terms, rather than having to uphold strict societal guidelines expressed in the past. However, although freedom of individuality has positively influenced society, it has led to lack of clarity and a commitment imbalance within relationships as expressed by E. Illouz (2012) stating that “men are emotionally elusive and routinely resist women’s attempts to commit to long term relationships.” As there is no longer a definitive way that people must show their love to one another, the timeline of love has been altered reflecting each individual relationship. #S327UOW17 #Tut5 #Mon1330

  7. I agree that the idea of love has changed, along with a transformation in how we go about finding and expressing ‘love’. Jamieson (1999, p. 478) notes, “the pace of social change is such that traditions are more profoundly swept away than ever before”. Increasing technological developments have expanded and changed the way we try to connect with others, and how much time we commit to doing so.
    This ‘Digital Transformation of Intimacy’ emphasises a different perspective in regards to intention and love. While love and intimacy in the Victorian Era took considered other factors (finances, social respectability etc.) besides feelings, the rise in online dating apps/sites allows for a new intent. The lecture explored the concept of ‘detachment/attachment’, which shows a shift in intent to that of a ‘game’ rather than a pure relationship. Through this concept individuals today are increasingly individualised, and able to seek relationships without commitment and a ‘lack of love’ – taking forms such as ‘fuckboys’ and ‘friends with benefits’.

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  8. While the methods and means of love and courtship have changed over time, the fundamentals still exist. For example, women are no longer passive and reserved throughout courtship, and it has become acceptable for females to initiate a relationship, which would have been considered immoral and inappropriate in the Victorian Era. Despite this evolution of relationship dynamics, courtship has survived the test of time.
    Courtship and love have also become more personal, and yet less intimate, with the introduction of technologies and social media. Relationships can be initiated with no external witnesses, judgements, and relatively few limitations. This is unlike the historical form of relationship that concerned itself with status, gender, ethnicity, distance, and many other restricting factors.

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  9. I believe that the way individuals in modern society express love is rather different to how it was expressed in previous times. Illouz’s statement “So-called deviant behaviours… have become significantly de-stigmatised” (2012), indicates that the changing levels of acceptance in society allows for people to have more freedom in how they show love. Although expression of love have changed, I still think we experience the same, or at least similar, biological reactions in regards to passionate love i.e. heart pounding.

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  10. Love is, as many others have mentioned, hard to define. I believe the advancements in technology have caused a change in the way relationships work, for example, people are in committed relationships online without ever having seen the other person face to face. Love is no longer about grand gestures and long courtship traditions. Men are no longer the only ‘breadwinners’, and so women can be more assertive in their intentions such as proposing to their partner, taking a partner on dates. The rise in freedom of expression regarding love has led to a generation of commitment-shy individuals, as discussed in the lecture. There is no pressure to be in one relationship for the rest of your life, and so when the going gets tough with one person, some see it easier to drop them and move on to the next available person.

    Apps such as Tinder make it incredibly easy to do this. A recent study by Tom Haberstroh has shown the impact of ‘Tinderisation’ on sports, with a particular focus on the NBA. Twenty years ago, a regular night included a game followed by hours in the club, a bite to eat and then, finally, a return to the hotel for some late-night fun. Now, players use these apps even before arriving in a city where they are set to play a game. No more clubs, no more late nights. And that’s the key because players are now getting an extra two or three hours of sleep per night while playing on the road, which is leading to improved play and more wins.

  11. Love still exists but is more fluid than previously. Giddens says about a pure relationship “for what can be derived by each person… and which is continued only in so far as it is thought by both parties to deliver enough satisfaction for each individual to stay within it” (pg. 477)
    Previously love and marriage was something that needed to be strictly upheld, there were social constraints that people had to live in and it wasn’t fluid or flexible (So was it really love?)
    Today there is flexibility, if something isn’t “derived by another” or “enough satisfaction for each individual to stay within in”, then simply; You don’t have to stay. It doesn’t mean that love doesn’t exist in modern society, but more so people in modern society want to experience more that fits their needs. “The pace of social change is such that traditions are more profoundly swept away than ever before” (pg. 478)

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  12. I think love has transformed over time. The changes in love from the Victorian Era to late modernity (Giddens) has arisen due to factors such as technology which has affected how we connect and interact with one another, and changes in laws such as the legalization of gay marriage in some countries which is leading to a diversity of relationship structures. Meanwhile, the Family Law Act (1975) is allowing women more choice in the relationships they choose to be in. Additionally, so is the increase of female employment for financial independence and freedom. This strongly contrasts to the constraints of traditional femininity where women were meant to be passive and pursued, now women can do the pursuing. These factors have contributed an overall change in love in modern society.

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  13. The definition of what constitutes love and relationships has definitely changed, consider the acceptance of same sex couples by society. Additionally, the way in which intimacy is conveyed has been altered too. New technology and the role of men and women within society has ensured that couples have had to adapt and therefore express their emotions in new ways. Whether the pure relationship as Giddens discusses is how intimacy has transformed, or rather the demonstration of love has transformed to physical acts such as cooking a meal for the family, is a notion which is up to individual interpretation. However it can not be denied that intimacy and love has changed

  14. Love has definitely changed. Things like the etiquette based rules of courtship are now generally old-fashioned, as opposed to the new generations wave of technology to look for love, or what most would see as the search for lust.

    It is of my opinion that romantic love and intimacy are now more heavily seen as a thing of books and films, while lust and sex are the most heavily sought after bonds for people my age. This may be seen as a product of a westerns society where sexual relationships are more accepted; where women and men are having families later in life, so there is seemingly more time for short, lust-filled relationships and long-lasting, meaningful relationships can come later.

  15. As demonstrated by changing trends over the past 50 years, relationships, and consequently the nature commitment, is being transformed. To conceptualise the contemporary field of romance Illouz argues that commitment has become economic in nature. Sexual availability is in oversupply and thus both men and women have difficulty assigning value to potential partners. The greater availability of options actually inhibits the capacity to commit to one person, and mediated society further increased our choices. As Roger mentioned in the lecture, one of the downfalls of Illouz’s theory is that she argues that men are only motivated by the pursuit of status, when they could be driven by a number of other factors. Similarly, I see her analysis of female commitment as too narrow as it does not accommodate for women who are not reproductively oriented (i.e. do not want children).

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  16. I agree that the social definition of love has changed – we now see a divide through companionate and passionate forms, the former we can experience through close friendships and the latter through our stereotypical popular culture image of love.

    I believed an increased sense of individuality within people as also carries a greater restriction as well as greater freedom. Due to the ability to refuse and expand choices of partners, I argue that is even greater expectation on both men and women in terms of projecting glamour in order to find a form of continuous passionate love, instead of the companionate counterpart.

  17. I am in agreeance with sentiments here that despite the social norms surrounding love having changed significantly over time from the Victorian era, courting and the social process of relationship building between couples remains the same, albeit on a far shorter timeline than in previous eras. It is this, and the transformation of what many seek in our relationships in recent years as argued by Giddens and Illouz that has changed. People still look for love and affection, and humanity has not changed significantly enough for a significant change in emotive state, however societal shifts have resulted in a shift in our perception of the emotion of love.

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  18. I believe that the fundamentals of love have remained the same, however the constant advancements in technology and social media are changing the ways in which we express love. Online dating and social media has given us the opportunity to form relationships without ever meeting in person. More often than not, the idea of a traditional ‘courtship’ is a thing of the past, instead we text, snapchat, tweet and ‘like’ photos on Instagram and Facebook. Although I believe that the basic concept of love remains the same, when we are interested in someone we try and find ways to show them. Whether or two people are ‘courting’ or texting and reacting to social media posts, we still experience the same feeling of passionate and compassionate forms of love.
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  19. Having just started rereading Pride and Prejudice, a big thing that stands out to me on this topic is that of Mr Darcy’s insistence that he cannot possibly fall in love with Elizabeth Bennett due to her lower standing in society. Is this still the case today? In some cases I would argue yes. While there have been innumerable societal changes over the centuries since the book was written, it still strikes a chord with people who read it today for a reason. There are still many comparisons that can be drawn between between how love and romance was conducted then to how it is now. Of course there are also many dissimilarities between them.

    Love, as a subjective thing, comes in many forms and so people interact with it in many different ways. As much as we feel love in a very personal way, a lot of the ways in which we express love or display love, are dictated by our societal values. As much as it would not have been appropriate for Mr Darcy to grab Elizabeth Bennett and kiss her at one of the balls, seeing a couple out in the street holding hands and kissing each other is not at all out of place. While the core feelings of love and affection may not change, the expression of love for others changes almost every day.

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  20. To question what love is, is very hard to define. One interpretation could be the opposite to another; however I feel throughout the years the term ‘love’ has definitely been manipulated with the advancements throughout technology and how individuals perceive what love it and what it really means to be ‘IN love’. It is a lot easier for people to connect today with technology being a platform that is used on a 24/7 basis, but yet with this comes its negatives such as abuses these platforms as it is a lot easier for individuals to seek others through social media. It has all completely changed from the times that you would call up ones home phone to organise something and meet them there, not having that access to talk at any times of the day whenever they felt like this. I then question if the use of social media has influenced relationships since then? It is proven that divorce rates have had a large increase since social media.
    While the fundamentals and methods of love have changed over time, the fundamentals still exist. This is supported by Jamieson (1999, p. 478), “the pace of social change is such that traditions are more profoundly swept away than ever before”.
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  21. Traditionally, the ‘rules’ behind love, sex and marriage, particularly in the Victorian Era were strictly bound by social constructs. Intimacy was governed by approval and the process of marriage, affecting individual affections and free flowing emotions. In society today, both marriage and divorce rates have decreased due to increased sexual freedom and desire by both genders, but also can be attributed to the lack of pressure placed on a couple to have the ‘married’ status. Additionally, as same sex couples have been previously socially unacceptable, increased choice of partners allows love to be felt naturally. I strongly agree with Giddins concepts of the ‘transformation of intimacy’ in particular ‘plastic sexuality’ which highlights the shifted perspective of the traditional hetero nuclear family. This is reinforced by changing aspirations such as females pursuing career orientated lifestyles as opposed to child bearing.

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