Love, Actually

Eva Illouz, via Guernica:

Love, actuallyOne of the fundamental changes in modernity has to do with the fact that social worth is performatively established in social relationships. Another way to say this is to suggest that social interactions—the ways in which the self performs in them—are a chief vector to accrue value and worth to the self, thus making the self crucially depend on others and on its interactions with others. While until the middle or late nineteenth century the romantic bond was organized on the basis of an already and almost objectively established sense of social worth, in late modernity the romantic bond is responsible for generating a large portion of what we may call the sense of self-worth. That is, precisely because much of marriage and romance was solidly based on social and economic considerations, romantic love did little to add to one’s sense of social place. It is precisely the disembedding of love from social frameworks that has made romantic love become the site for negotiating one’s self-worth.

Read the rest of the exerpt from her forthcoming Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation here.