SOC344 2018 Tut4 – Bega

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?

#S344UOW18 #Tut4 #Bega

Posted in SOC327 - Emotions Bodies and Society, UOW.

3 Comments on SOC344 2018 Tut4 – Bega

Alex Young said : Guest Report 11 months ago

Lynn Jamieson (1999, p. 477) defines the concept of a pure relationship as containing the elements of trust achieved through mutual disclosure, opening up to each other and finally recognising and enjoying each other’s unique qualities. Not unlike Alicia’s blog I believe that this is considered as the most desirable type of relationship by many in society, however I am not convinced that it is the most common or practical type of relationship. Jamieson (1999, p. 477) states that maintaining a pure relationship often takes large amounts of energy and effort. This is likely because complete mutual disclosure is a difficult task and could, in some cases, lead to significant conflict within the relationship. Although mutual disclosure is present in varying degrees in many relationships Jamieson (1999, p. 488) argues that complete mutual disclosure can actually end a relationship. I agree with this statement because many people in a relationship have secrets, and the revealing of these secrets can often damage a relationship. Not unlike Jamieson (1999, p. 483) I believe that in many cases acts of love and care are more important in a relationship than mutual disclosure. Further these acts of caring are far less likely to have a negative impact on a relationship or cause a relationship to end. In conclusion I believe that despite the pure relationship being idealised in our society, it is not necessarily the most common type of relationship or the best type of relationship.

Carina Severs said : Guest Report 11 months ago

The Pressure of Love In post-modernity times our sense of social worth is something constantly negotiated with others. Our society evaluates us in so many of our social arenas including in school, university, work & sport. The pressure to perform, to be the best you can, to be superior, to be “someone”, has never been so great. This is unlike pre-modernity times when status was something that you inherited, something you were born with and something you did not have to necessarily contest or prove. ‘Love’ therefore and according to Eva Illouz, is the only arena left where post-modernity peoples (us) can escape the pressure of status, where you are the winner, the first and only (Illouz, E 2012). However it’s a double edged sword because now we expect our beloved’s to take on the role of partner, lover, confidant, best friend and playmate. Now that’s pressure!! I agree with Alicia who quotes Jamieson (1999, p. 477) where she offers Giddens (2013, p. 58) description of a more realistic and contemporary understanding of love and intimacy in modernity. This is one where “a social relation is entered into for its own sake, for what can be derived by each person from a sustained association with another; 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” (Giddens, 1992 p. 58). The association may provide what each is requiring for a time, for example love, procreation, intimacy and financial benefit. However as soon as it (the association) does not provide what either is requiring, then the respective parties have a choice to remain together, change the relationship in some way, or part. Illouz questions the consequences of this new found “freedom” as being a double edged sword, causing a ‘society of commitment shy people – men in particular” (Patulny, R 2018). These statements seem to have connotations of selfishness which I don’t necessarily agree with. I think the discourse of love, intimacy, marriage and relations is in a constant state of change and we may well be on our way to be a totally “commitment free” society. A society where we choose who, how and for how long, we love. References: Giddens, A 2013, ‘The transformation of intimacy: Sexuality, love and eroticism in modern societies’, John Wiley & Sons. Illouz, E 2012, ‘Commitment phobia and the new architecture of romantic choice’, in Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation, Polity Press, Cambridge, pp.59-108 Jamieson, L 1999, ‘Intimacy Transformed? A Critical Look at the `Pure Relationship', Sociology, Vol 33, Issue 3, pp. 477 – 494,, viewed 26th March 2018 Patulny, R 2018, ‘Isn’t it nice to be in love?’, SOC344 2018 Tut4 – Bega Blog,, viewed 26th March 2018

Alicia Redshaw said : Guest Report 11 months ago

Has love changed over time or have societal structures, discourse and people desires changed over time? Public discourse encompassing love and commitment have undoubtedly undergone transformation. Jamieson adds that discourse around sex and sexuality has also undergone transformation whereby there is a “greater tolerance of diversity in sexual practices” (Jamieson 2013, p.483) and the benefits of the “pure relationship” can be obtained without commitment. In the 19th century, marriage was a lifelong commitment, and for men was based on moral and economic ecology (Illouz 2012, p.64), a man’s social status was dependent upon marriage, (Illouz 2012, p.63) and breaking such a commitment was seen as “deviant and dishonourable behaviour” (Illouz 2012, p.65). However, marriage in contemporary society is purely optional, moral standards have “accentuated and normalized the separation between sex and marriage.” (Illouz 2012, p.61) Both men and women have the ability to exercise sexual and romantic freedom. This sexual freedom is juxtaposed to the restrains upon women in eighteenth century whereby they had to “express sexual reticence.” (Illouz 2012, p.62) Illouz argues, that such sexual and romantic freedom has generated new forms of suffering and inequalities between sexes and “commitment phobia” (Illouz 2012, p.61) I am not convinced by Illouz concepts however tend to believe that maybe men are confused by traditional roles of women and men and are somewhat threatened by the power of women within society today, thus, causing “commitment phobia?” Giddens however, offers another concept and contends that such sexual and romantic freedom has allowed a different form of intimacy in modernity being the ‘pure relationship’ (Jamieson 1999, p.477) I tend to confer with more with this concept as it offers a more realistic and contemporary understanding of love and intimacy in modernity. Within contemporary society today, I believe men and women are still envisaged by a relationship based on trust, mutual respect and loyalty however more acceptance circulates the separation of sexes and that “forever” isn’t for everyone!! Illouz, E 2012, ‘Commitment phobia and the new architecture of romantic choice’, in Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation, Polity Press, Cambridge, pp.59-108 Jamieson, L 1999, ‘Intimacy Transformed? A Critical Look at the ‘Pure Relationship’, Sociology, vol.33, No.3, pp.477-494. Patulny, R 2018, ‘Lecture 4: Love and Intimacy in late modernityt’, PowerPoint slide, SOC327, University of Wollongong, viewed 19 March 2018

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