History of Love History of love (courtly and romantic love myth) Swidler’s (2001) theory of love (2 visions of love, romantic love, prosaic-realism, and why the myth persists) Illouz (1997) (romance as a commodity; the impact of rationalization; “therapeutic ethos”; repertoires of love) Sprecher & Metts (1999) – men more romantic?
Courtly Love sudden and certain passion love object is idealized transforms the self leading to virtue defies social conventions reshaped by bourgeois culture of English capitalism
Romantic Love Myth Love is all-or-nothing choice Love defines the self True love is unique and exclusive Love can overcome personal and social obstacles Love is enduring/ happy ending Love as the focal myth of individualism
2 Visions of Love 1. Romantic Love = Mythic view 2. Prosaic-realism = Anti-mythic view
Prosaic-Realism Love Love not sudden, nor certain It grows slowly Ambivalent and confusing May result from circumstance, accident or inertia (not a choice) Based on compatibility (not defying social conventions) It requires work (not happily ever after)
What view of love? 2 visions of love coexist in American society Visions alternate Structural reality behind the mythic view
Why a mythic view of love persists? Structural features of marriage provide dominant model for love relationship It answers to questions about the decisive choice of whether or not to marry The culture of love (in its mythic form) provides a language
Why a mythic view of love persists? The new heroism in relationships is to “work at” relationships “Heroic commitment” of an institutional insecure modern marriage Page 122, page 127.
Romance (Illouz 1997) Romance is commodified and commodities are romanticized Rationalization impacts on romance Magazine articles on love and romance are prescriptive, normative, analytical.
Rationalization of love Marx and Weber Love has become rationalized Legitimation of a rational institution (marriage) by an irrational feeling (romantic love) can be understood within the process of rationalization of subjectivity Examples
“Therapeutic ethos” applied to love Open to study and evaluation Healthy versus unhealthy relationships Controlled through strategies and techniques Improved through understanding of the past Success is grounded in self-knowledge
Women’s magazines Metaphors of business pervade discourse on love Women as responsible for success or failures The 2 repertoires of love: - “organic” - “contractual”
Romantic Beliefs (Sprecher & Metts 1999) Relational schemata/relationship beliefs = expectations Romantic beliefs and relationship outcomes = quality and stability Do individual’s beliefs about love change as a consequence of transitions experienced in a current relationship?
Romantic Beliefs (Sprecher & Metts 1999) Males more romantic (table 1) Correlations between romanticism and measures of relationship quality Cause and effect? Romanticism Relationship quality and/or Relationship quality Romanticism
Main results Romanticism increases commitment for men only (ex.) Commitment increases romanticism for women only Romanticism has no effect on relationship stability
Main results Modest decline in romanticism over time among intact couples Relationship transitions: - Getting engaged has no effect on romanticism - Getting married decreases romanticism for women but not men - Breaking up decreases romanticism for everyone