SOC344 2018 Tut4 – Mossvale

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 #Mvale

Posted in SOC327 - Emotions Bodies and Society, UOW.

3 Comments on SOC344 2018 Tut4 – Mossvale

Bronwyn Sims said : Guest Report 7 months ago

Great blogs!

Sarah Stratton said : Guest Report 9 months ago

There can be little doubt that the social milieu of late modernity has engendered definitive, overarching transformations in terms of the conceptions of love, intimacy and therefore relationships and their dynamics. Gidden’s postulation of the emergence of the ’pure relationship’ and ‘plastic sexuality’ are indeed indicative of current trends and practices however, how far these changes have extended into a highly structured, gendered social world, is a notion open to contestation. As Jamieson explains, despite the ideological proliferation of social movements such as feminism, it is clearly evidenced that, in heterosexual relationships, in which the gender interaction can perhaps be most clearly observed, men exercise far more power than women. Constructions of masculinity continue to be both reliant upon and dialectically opposed to constructions of femininity, resulting in an analysis which contests the notion or understanding of a ‘pure relationship’. In fact, a common reality in relations of this kind, is a gendered disconnect between intimacy and sex, for women the former is a requirement for the latter whilst it is the opposite that holds true for men. In line with this notion, there is much to contest in the equality postulated within a ‘pure relationship’, notwithstanding market forces which both capitalise upon and encourage this form of mutual disclosure and trust to become naturalised within the collective social psyche. It is perhaps more pertinent to suggest, as Jamieson does, that this radical transformation is one that is ‘underway, with potentially profound consequences for gender politics and the wider social fabric’, its most observable impact being witnessed amongst the younger generations through technology but also sexual practices, normalised through mediums increasingly becoming less socially taboo. Giddens theorising is also explicitly western-centric and does not necessarily have wider cross -cultural applications. In some societies, a union still rests upon considerations of financial security and familial status as it does with an emphasis on chastity, although perhaps less explicitly, in the west. These social expectations that surround the intricacies of relationships hark back to a more formal regime of the expression of emotions and therefore bodies. Illouz refers to the freedom of the contemporaneous moment of late modernity, this freedom being ‘institutionalised in different spheres with different practical and moral consequences.’ If, as Giddens postulates, there is individual freedom to be found in the practice of ‘sexual plasticity’, this freedom is not free, as it were, of consequences. Men still tend to be praised and socially rewarded for promiscuous behaviour, whilst women suffer often far-reaching moral and practical consequences in this capacity. This requires women to regulate, monitor and indeed down-play the extent to which they engage in forms of sexual expression. So, it appears, that whilst there is evidence of the changing nature of love and intimacy, it is still highly moderated by an overarching and deeply embedded sense of gendered inequality. The social contract as it were, exerts its dominance over the sexual contract, however it may have been reconceptualised.

Abbie Rowley said : Guest Report 9 months ago

When looking at love it is hard to tell if it has changed or not as I have only been on this earth for 21 years. My idea and experience of love is different to most people I have talked to. I do know the word love gets thrown around more often in today’s society but it is a different kind of love. I know that the love between my family is very different to the love that my boyfriend’s family shares together. I believe that growing up in a family where everyone shares their emotions it is easy enough to tell what emotions we are going through where as if you grew up suppressing your emotions it will be a lot harder when you are faced with commitment such as a new relationship. Illouz (2012) tells us that in the modern world the characteristics of romantic nature have been forever changed due to a disconnect between emotion and sexual experience. I very much agree with this point as of 2018 the idea of casual sex is way more common and more accepted then what it us to be. With causal sex there is no commitment and there doesn’t need to be any emotional connection making it harder when we are faced with commitment, people struggle as this emotional side becomes very confronting as they are not use to it. #mvale #S344uow18 # tut4

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