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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)

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history of love

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

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

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

2 Visions of Love

1. Romantic Love = Mythic view

2. Prosaic-realism = Anti-mythic view

prosaic realism love

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

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

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 persists8

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 (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

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


therapeutic ethos applied to love

“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

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

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 199914

Romantic Beliefs (Sprecher & Metts 1999)

Males more romantic (table 1)

Correlations between romanticism and measures of relationship quality

Cause and effect?

Romanticism Relationship quality


Relationship quality Romanticism

main results

Main results

Romanticism increases commitment for men only (ex.)

Commitment increases romanticism for women only

Romanticism has no effect on relationship stability

main results16

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