SOC327 2017 Tut5 – Thu 1030

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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  1. Sexualized passionate love fades overtime whereas companionate love lasts through space and time. They can both be overwhelming depending on the context in which you are perceiving them…for example, passionate love can be overwhelming in a particular moment, but companionate love is overwhelming when you look at it retrospectively. It is interesting to think of love in the pre-18th century context when love was still not a pre-requestite for marriage. Under what circumstances, then, was love experienced? How was love viewed during that time?

  2. Giddens describes a pure relationship as one that operates independently of external criteria and exists solely for the satisfaction of those involved. This kind of relationship facilitates individualisation and contests the rationality of commitment in late modernity. The implication is that companionate love has given way to more fluid and ‘lasseiz faire’ forms of love and intimacy. The following documentary suggests that polyamory can accommodate not only the “morality of modern sexuality”, but the commitment associated with companionate love. What do you think?

    SOC327 2017 Tut5 – Thu 1030

  3. Giddens describes a pure relationship as one that operates independently of external criteria and exists solely for the satisfaction of those involved. This kind of relationship facilitates individualisation and contests the rationality of commitment in late modernity. The implication is that companionate love has given way to more fluid and ‘lasseiz faire’ forms of love and intimacy. The following documentary suggests that polyamory can accommodate not only the “morality of modern sexuality”, but the commitment associated with companionate love. What do you think?

  4. @rpatulny Love is still a game, competition is encouraged but good sportmanship is rewarded with a time out (friendzoned) #S327UOW17 #Tut5 #Thurs1030

    I would argue against Illouz’s (2012) claims that the game of love has changed in a way in which provides men with greater power. The coy virgin-maiden of the previous centuries has become more sexually active and yet less emotionally responsive. Although men may be viewed as participating in more ‘casual sex’ and ‘love games’, have women not been accused of frequent ‘friend-zoning’? By ‘friend-zoning’ the ‘nice’ (husbandly) guy, who would be quite capable of providing all of their emotional-commitment desires, aren’t women themselves participating in an diluted form of aboulic commitment-phobia (Illouz 2012)?

  5. I would agree that love within society has changed over time. There has been a change in the way that love has been expressed and perceived. Due to the subjective nature of love, and how societal constructs have been unintentionally used to change our perception of love, an individual’s perception of the emotion can be changed by their societal influences and relationships. Ilouz writes of how abstinence was a way for women to prove their virtue, and that women were reserved in expressing their sexual feelings; waiting for men to make the advance. This was a commonly known and practiced way of creating value within a relationship, even though for some it may not have been legitimate.
    The introduction of the internet and online dating in turn with changing perspectives on the notion has allowed the traditional notions and ways of expressing love and interest to shift. With more of a focus on the individual rather than traditional gender roles or portrayal by the media, the individual perception of love has been more easily and openly expressed.

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  6. Love has undoubtedly changed through historic periods, with Gidden’s arguing that we are moving into a period characterised by the ‘pure relationship’ as a result of societies becoming more individualised as traditional constraints such as family and the church become loosened. According to Gidden’s, the ‘pure relationship’ results in relationships becoming more equal. However, questions arise whether relationships are really becoming more equal and whether all is really fair in love in late modernity. According to Jamieson (1999), one of the key issues with Gidden’s ideal of the egalitarian relationship is that this may not be widely experienced as the lived reality for couples illustrates that much of personal life is still structured by inequalities with women still doing a large amount of the housework and caring for children. The fact that there are still gendered divisions of labour and gendered divisions of child care brings into question how accurate Gidden’s optimism is, and whether all is really fair in love and relationships in late modernity?

  7. One cannot possibly determine whether love in the passionate sense has changed as that is considered an irrational emotion that cannot be controlled. However, love in the compassionate and institutional sense has definitely changed in some regards. For example, moving away from a more traditional view of love as something that is between a man and a woman or that is has to be legitimized through institutions such as marriage. A lot of people no longer feel the need for their love to be legitimized through an institution. An example of adapting circumstance though would be marriage equality; it still has some elements of the traditional institution of love but then adds a non-traditional element to the institution, suggesting a change in the way people view ‘love.’ This of course does not discredit the love same-sex people have for each other outside this institution, just an example of adapting old ideas of love to a contemporary context.

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  8. To be able to define love under just a few sub-headings is irrationally incorrect from my perceptive. Love and Intimacy is multifaceted and interchangeable as a result of personalities, behaviours and environments creating different experiences. No two loves are the same.
    We can see the importance placed on love more so in some societies and cultures than others. Evidently in India, ‘arranged marriages’ are for the purpose of family ties and religious purposes not so much for the purpose of intimacy and love. But with Indian civilians choosing ‘love marriage’ more so today in today’s society, we can say that ‘love’ isn’t in fact changing, but cultural plays a part in regards to the view of love and in fact impacts how one can or how they fall in love.

  9. I think Illouz (2012) made valid points in regard to marriage illustrating one’s status in society. It’s interesting to see how we have become detraditionalised and really removed the notion of marriage being the only acceptable place for sex.

    I don’t think that love, per se, has changed, as that is intrinsically emotional, but I do think that relationships have, and therefore the expression of love has changed, particularly in the new freedoms that would have been unimaginable in the Victorian Era.

    As for the commitment phobia, I’m not convinced by Illouz’ determination that people are unable to desire a long-term relationship. There is plenty of data telling us that people are marrying later, but there’s strong correlation with a desire to establish yourself and find out who you are before coupling. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

  10. Whether it’s the passionate form we experience when we fall in love, or the companionate form when we become committed and invested, love is a common phenomenon, experienced by all. The meanings and value of love have undoubtedly changed over time, with the rules of courtship once playing a crucial role in decision-making. However, since the ‘transformation of intimacy’, constraints have been removed and relationships are used as a site to express individuality and freedom, affirming equality and symmetry. This extensive freedom has resulted in exclusivity being challenged and new forms of commitment being developed, with traditional patterns transformed. In saying this however, perhaps the ideal perspective that relationships are becoming more equal is far too optimistic, as divisions are still evident. Illouz (2012) suggests many of these changes instead provide men with an abundance of choice, and therefore power when approaching relationships. We see males gaining respect and authority when gaining multiple sexual relations, with females experiencing quite the opposite. Ultimately, the experience and choice regarding relationships is an individual one, in which we each have some power to negotiate. Individuals can choose how to exert this freedom, however, traditional ideas often dominate.

  11. Kendra Cherry (2016) describes sexualised passionate love as “intense” and “generally very fleeting.” In my opinion, society has moved towards this structure of love and intimacy and away from the traditional sense of love as being compassionate and long lasting. This is arguably influenced and reflected by popular culture. Take the Hollywood film industry for example. In many instances, feelings of love and intimacy are portrayed to be intensely passionate and disposable. Of course, there are examples of Hollywood films which defy this cliché, such as Carl and Ellie’s faithful and enduring marriage in Pixar’s ‘Up’.

    The question of whether love has changed is a difficult one to definitively answer. One could argue that we have left the Victorian Era, where gender, class and money affected love and have moved into an age in which love is fair. Perhaps men and women are equally free to love whom they see fit. According to Anthony Giddens (1992) this is the case as women are no longer constrained to a societal status in relationships, i.e. being a wife or mother, but now find value through other means. On the contrary, one could also argue that love is not all fair these days. Eva Illouz (2012) believes that men “control the playing field” of love, and that capitalism has aided the division of men and women. She also argues that women are not free from the “prime institution to raise children.” Although I agree with Giddens in regard to the sexual equality of men and women these days, I do also find Illouz’s argument to be equally valid. This is especially considering that society continues to place emphasis upon gendered stereotypes such as a women’s role as being the ‘stay at home mother’ and the expectations placed upon males as being the ‘breadwinners’. However, I disagree with Illouz that love is unfair, and that males control power over intimacy and love.

  12. Love cannot be definitive, as its expression can be shown in different ways. I think love changes based off the values and norms of the present societal structure. This can be seen when comparing love in the Victorian era with modern day society. Today, we live in a world where love and intimacy has transitioned to include possibilities of love online. Our social context has allowed the formation of virtual realities, where people can fall in love or love without ever having to physically meet. This broadens the way in which we view relationships and the way in which we understand love. Giddens, makes the point that love is free to flourish and less confined in the 20th century. I would say these constraints and hindrances are there still however they present themselves in new ways w. Love is not always happy, passionate and successful. Love can be hard, hurtful and painful, it can test the very fabric of your being and push you to unimaginable emotional limits. Love is something people seek in one way or another but it is complex and evolving. Love is completely contextual and circumstance will heavily impact the way in which you understand and practice love.

  13. I do think it’s not so much that love itself has changed, but our understanding of it and the way we express it has. What I find interesting is the the concept of marriage for love and the commitment to maintaining that relationship. To vow ’til death do us part’ doesn’t appear to have the same resonance that it used to. What I found surprising in the lecture was the decrease in the amount of people actually getting married, that divorce rates have plateaued since 2014 and that de facto relationships have been on a consistent increase sine 1986. Before the lecture, I thought divorce rates would have been much higher. Do people stay in de facto relationships and not marry so that when they are not happy it is easier to seperate? Or is it that the motive and meaning behind ‘marriage’ is out dated and not necessary to secure their love for one another? I think what is key here is it’s the way we show our love that has changed.

  14. Love has progressively changed over history as we have seen different kinds of relationships being recognised and accepted such as same-sex couples. Gidden’s theory of the pure relationship has shown the progression of a more individualised relationship that is opposed to the traditionalised structure of the nuclear family and the social and economic benefits that arise from this ‘ideal’ norm.
    Love is no longer confined by marriage, and rather cohabitation and participating with the other party of the relationship.

  15. Love comes in many forms – we won’t ever define it. The love between those who have known each other one year, the love between those who have known each other fifty years and the love between a mother and child who have just met are all different but they are all love in some form. Of course it isn’t fair because there is no choice, but perhaps this is for the best for our authentic selves.

    Love should be overwhelming. Period. What’s love if it isn’t overwhelming? Why should we aim to define it – can’t we just appreciate it? I believe it can also be considered at the same time. I do however that love solely based on passion has the tendency to fizzle

    This blog post is worth a read – . Explores how love can be confused with passion and other similar feelings. Usually appears in conjunction with passion but is not passion itself.

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  16. In regard to the direct question – ‘Has love changed?’ – I would argue no. The ways in which we are able to express feelings of “love”, engage in courtship, and “find love” (ie. dating websites) have certainly changed and evolved over time with the introduction of new technologies and emergence of new social attitudes. But “love” itself is still the same emotion/feeling/perception that it was generations ago.

    We have certainly seen the evolution of sexuality and gender roles within the sphere of “love” over recent centuries and even recent decades. A more liberal approach to sexuality (particularly female sexuality) has emerged as a result of feminist movements and similar social revolutions – this has possibly been supported by the emergence of Tinder and other similar technologies that have allowed people to generally be more open and honest in relation to what they want out of a relationship with another person. Giddens argues that we now live in a society in which women are becoming equal to men. While I agree to an extent, I think the key word in this claim is ‘becoming’. Sexual oppression of women is still prevalent in our modern society, despite the sexual revolution that women have experience in recent decades, and the empowerment that has accompanied it. Notions such as “slut-shaming” continue to permeate the spheres of sex, love, and dating – a term almost exclusively applied to women. Expectations of sexual submissiveness of women and even victim blaming in cases of sexual assault are all ways in which women’s sexuality and autonomous rights are still not seen as equal to that of men. Many such attitudes are reinforced throughout society, the media, and even legal legislation – all indicative of the further changes that are needed.

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  17. I would like to concentrate mainly on love with your partner and lover. I think love hasn’t changed and never will but, rather, the way we love these days has changed. The older generation were more concerned about compassion, intimacy, compatibility (in regards to lifestyle and gender) and then, lastly, financial stability. However this generation of lovers are most concerned about financial stability and then they are concerned about compassion, intimacy and compatibility. This, along with the new found independence the 21st century, brings with it anxiety, as lovers now have endless opportunities to find the best person to love. Most people these days now live together before getting married or are in relationships for considerable time to get know each other (Illouz 2012, p. 62). This independence makes it easy to discover and develop compassion, compatibility and intimacy. The reason we now fail in love is because we are more concerned about material things and financial stability. We are looking for quick fixes in love, similar to what we get in our material world.
    In conclusion, this generation are not lovers who make sacrifices, or who love each with fearlessness and ever enduring care. Instead they are only willing to test each other out, and are ready to fail in love when finances get tough or a better option comes along.
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  18. Love is experienced differently for everyone. We all know the basic foundations of what love feels like, but it differs, so therefore I don’t believe we can define it 100%.

    Technology has helped shaped ways in which we can find and experience love, but in the end, love is still love, whether it be online or in person, same gendered, or different gendered.

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