SOC344 2018 Tut4 – Mon 12.30pm

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 #Mon1230

Posted in SOC327 - Emotions Bodies and Society, UOW.

6 Comments on SOC344 2018 Tut4 – Mon 12.30pm

Matilda Harriman said : Guest Report 7 months ago

For hundreds of years, love has been influenced by social constructs that continue to change as time goes by. During the Victorian era, love concerned aspects like class, money, status and the high regard on lifelong marriages. Where ardent love was intimate and only presented behind closed doors, in comparison to today; In what Giddens discusses as the 'Late Modern' period, in which is a more sensitive form of love and affection which is demonstrated more freely. Giddens effectively portrays that his ideology of ‘pure relationship’ indicates the lack of commitment that is increasingly becoming an issue today. When considering Eva Illouz’ argument that society has become a commitment of shy people, in particular men; heightens the impact that the freedom we have today when it comes to commitment. Such a contrast when comparing arranged marriage and the idea of lifelong obligations to the one individual. Modern love has radically altered in comparison to love in the Victorian era. Nowadays we are modified to a life of equality and have gained the ability to choose what we personally desire. #S344UOW18 #Tut4 #Mon1230

Angus Wren said : Guest Report 7 months ago

When it comes to love, love can be split into two types. The compassionate love we have for our friends and family, and the passionate love we have for our partner. Both types of love, display a deep and meaningful bond and sense of care, however, remain very different. Social norms and culture has come a long way since the Victorian Era, coming from a conservative, regimented style of love and intimacy, to a modernistic style of free expression, as referred to as the 'transformation of intimacy' by Anthony Giddens. Where passionate love was personal and only displayed behind closed curtains, compared to today; In what Giddens refers to as the 'Late Modern' period, in which is a more expressive form of love and intimacy which is displayed more publically. Giddens suggests in this shift of expression, lack of commitment in modern society has increasingly become an issue. People have more freedom to choose, which has resulted in a transformation from organised marriage, and life long relationships, to freedom to choose love, and frequent and short relationships. Passionate love has changed, however, compassionate love has relatively stayed the same. #S344UOW18 #Tut4 #Mon1230

Carley Phillips said : Guest Report 7 months ago

The way love is socially constructed has changed over time. In the Victorian era, love was about status, money, class and valued long-lasting commitment within marriages. In late modernity Giddens describes the ‘pure relationship’ where we are able to choose if we wish to be in a relationship and for how long. When looking at Illouz’s argument that society is becoming commitment shy, I believe that that this is a result of the lack of constraints placed upon us to find someone and marry. We are now free to pursue love that is passionate and fulfilling rather than to gain status or wealth, and as such, most do not stay in a relationship that does not meet our emotional needs. This is especially true in regards to women who have previously relied on the men to earn money to support them and their families but are now self-reliant and independent if they wish to be. Modern love has changed drastically from love in the Victorian era where we are more individualised and equal, and have gained the ability of choice. #S344UOW18 #Tut4 #Mon1230

Kelsea Latham said : Guest Report 7 months ago

'Love' has shifted overtime to consist of more than just a contract, a dowry or a compromise. Modern love can be seen to encompass equality, sexuality and compassion for other human beings, and as Giddens explains this transformation of intimacy is 'the pure relationship'. Although, this experience is not applicable to all populations as traditional and conservative views on love still function strongly in many societies. Through being reflexive, we can see Western-modern love has been constructed around our want for flexibility and freedom, as well as empowering women to make their own choices by putting their personal careers forefront of any prospective relationships. Personally, I see value in traditional love constructs in terms of stability and long-term commitment, but the increase of equality between men and women in love/marriage/relationships and the wants of both parties being considered, can be seen as a positive step towards gender-equality and social mobility. #S344UOW18 #Tut4 #Mon1230

Emily Draper said : Guest Report 7 months ago

I am intrigued by Eva Illouz’s concept of commitment shy men. I agree with Liam that men are socialised to equate masculinity with sexual prowess and ability to have multiple partners. However, I do think that people are still pressured to be in a committed relationship by social factors such as economic security to be able to afford a house and their parents expectations. I also wonder if same gender attracted men also feel like their masculinity is linked to their number of sexual partners. A recent study in the US has found that young gay men are more inclined towards monograms than their elders with marriage becoming the norm (Spears and Lowen, 2016). Love is also changing in late modernity due to new technology. The internet and social media is changing how people communicate and meet others. In 2013 in the US more than one third of marriages began online with these marriages being more likely to last and not end in divorce (Cacioppo et al., 2013). Men may be more commitment shy in late modernity but there are certainly other factors that affect and change this making men more likely to commit.

Liam Thomas said : Guest Report 7 months ago

I think that in regards to Eva Illouz’s notion of commitment shy men that she is onto the right idea and for several reasons. Even today, men are socialised into the notion that their degree of masculinity is implicitly measured by their sexual prowess and number of sexual partners / encounters. The irony being that the diametric opposite is what society tends to value in women. Even though it may only be at a subconscious level, I think men are afraid of commitment due to the perceived damage being restricted in their sexual expression would do to their masculinity. Women also, may increasingly be afraid of commitment due to not wanting to snub the values of the masculine patriarchy and thus “rob” men of their masculinity. We can even see this through the terms people use to describe their spouses: being “tied down”, their “ball and chain”, etc. This kind of socialised “hyperindividualism” and desire for seeking a flawless “Pure relationship” at all costs, despite its practical impossibility, I believe does serve to further propel people away from committed relationships. In this way, love can be said as having changed. That being said, it is also important for us to recognise that the past should not be viewed through rose-tinted glasses. Relationships then were just as dysfunctional as they are now, but for a different host of reasons, I believe. In a way, our changing definitions of love may have simply swapped one set of positives and negatives for another. #S344UOW18 #Tut4 #Mon1230

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