Love and relationship in `society`

Table of Content

 IntroductionSexual affairs are one of society’s unrecognized relationships, existing as they do somewhere behind the curtains of social condemnation and the spotlight of public scrutiny. Within these “unrecognized relationships” friends play a pivotal part. They can help or deter, collude, or denounce, and whatever major or minor role they find themselves in, are often concerned in the management of their friend’s affair.

Thus, in this paper we will discuss couple of manuscript of two famous socialist Anthony Giddens “The transformation of intimacy” and Beck and Beck-Gernsheim’s “The Normal Chaos of Love” dealing with societies most controversial issue ‘Love and Relationship’. First we will discuss them individually then we will compare and contrast the approaches of these manuscripts. Anthony Giddens “The transformation of intimacy”Giddens is one of the world’s leading social theorists, in his quite recent works has he turned to the analysis of the more intimate worlds “The Transformation of Intimacy”.Giddens’s discussed the “pure relationship,” that is defined completely in terms of the interests of the partners and lasts only as long as both find the relationship satisfactory (Giddens, 1992).

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

;;;It is uncertain whether the true dyad can ever really exist as something more than a tendency or an aspiration. The husband and his lover, for instance, may be confronted by the awareness of the absent spouse or, more conceptually, by “others” who might guess or detect that they are having “an affair.” Affairs have some rule-governed or quasi-institutional features that imply that they take on something of a life over and above the feelings and prospect of the two participants.In “The Transformation of Intimacy” The Giddens’ discussed idea of the “pure relationship.

” This is defined in these terms:A pure relationship … refers to a situation where a social relationship is entered into for its own sake, for what can be derived by each person from a sustained association with another; and which is continued only in so far as it is thought by both parties to deliver enough satisfaction for each individual to stay within it. (Giddens, 1992, p. 58)It is part of Giddens’ wider perceptive of intimacy under conditions of late modernity that the thought of the pure relationship has become more extensive. It can be seen in opposition both to entirely instrumental relationships (such as those which are thought to distinguish modern political relationships) and to traditional relationships which are shaped by understandings and prescription situated in the past.

Clearly, traditional understandings of marriage signify a major aspect of what pure relationships might be opposed to; under such conditions, again, marriage can simply have some provisional or conditional character. The kinds of internalized constraints felt by Laura in the film Brief Encounter which led her to break off her developing, though not consummated, affair would seem to be less effectual hi a context where the “pure relationship” comes to the fore.Giddens argued that couple relationships play a means role in maintaining a person’s identity.For Giddens, “pure relationships” are pierced in to for their own sake and only last for as long as each partner gets them emotionally and sexually satisfying.

They can be “terminated, more or less at will, by either partner at any particular point” (Giddens, 1992, p. 137). Using the experience of Mary, her female friends debated with some vigor quite how this can be pertained in the context of marriage. Positively one could argue that in marriage particularly with the presence of children—the idea that free choice can be exercised and the relationship willingly opted out of is highly debatable.

As the women were capable to demonstrate, getting out of a marriage is also accompanied by a good deal of social, emotional, economic, and legal baggage. Whether these relationships can be dissolved “more or less at will” is not perhaps as straightforward as Giddens seemed to entailHowever, in some respects Giddens might be right to indicate that pure relationships have the prospective to undermine conventional heterosexual marriage. In the case of Mary however, it is not possibly in quite the way that Giddens had proposed. For him, the foundation of intimacy in pure relationships is joint self-disclosure, and we saw for example, that Mary’s husband did seek out intimacy and opened himself up to reveal his inner thoughts and feelings.

Though, this was not with his wife, but with the woman he left his wife for. Mary’s friends, perhaps of course, viewed her husband’s new-found ability to self reveal with some suspicion. In several ways their skepticism reverberates with the criticism that what Giddens has proposed is not anything more than a philanderer’s charter—that trailing relationships in and for their own sake is equivalent to pursuing sex in the name of intimacy.Giddens has asserted the key position of a couple relationships for personal identity but in his account of late twentieth century social change marriage is, at best, insignificance.

He talks about the dominance of a form of intimacy based on mutual self disclosure, which he labels “confluent love” (Giddens, 1992, p. 61). He argues that people seek to secure themselves in a “pure relationship” in which shared trust is built through disclosing intimacy. Lynn Jamieson http://www.

A pure relationship is one in which external criteria have become dissolved: the relationship exists solely for whatever rewards that relationship can deliver. In the context of the pure relationship, trust can be mobilized only by a process of mutual disclosure (Giddens, p. 6)Unlike romantic love, confluent love is not inevitably monogamous, in the sense of sexual exclusiveness. What holds the pure relationship together is the approval on the part of each partner, “until further notice,” that each gains enough benefit from the relation to make its persistence worthwhile.

Sexual exclusiveness here has the role in the relationship to the amount to which the partners equally deem it desirable or essential. (Giddens, 1992, p. 63).Parties to “pure relationships” should construct mutual trust and commitment alongside the knowledge that their relationship might not last eternally and its dependence on mutual happiness means it is only “good until further notice.

” Although Giddens overtly acknowledges that the pure relationship need not be monogamous, he also discusses limits on the degree to which openness and understanding can extend beyond the couple. He notes that sexual relationships tend to be dyadic and draws on the psychoanalytic suggestion that dyadic sexual relationships in maturity are a site for recreating the “feeling of individuality that an infant enjoys with its mother” (1992, p. 138). Lynn Jamieson http://www.

He also notes that trust “is not a quality able of indefinite expansion” but requires an element of exclusiveness: “the disclosure of what is kept from other people is one of the main psychological markers probable to call forth trust and to be sought after in return” (Giddens, 1992, pp. 138-139). Lynn Jamieson http://www.crfr. Beck and Beck-Gernsheim’s “The Normal Chaos of Love”In The Normal Chaos of Love, Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim note a contradiction between individual desires (e.

g. for higher education and career) and love and family. They draw attention to the expressive dilemma created by cultural support for a strong desire for love (which evokes trust in feeling), and the contemporary chanciness of love (knowledge of which evokes a distrust of feeling).Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (1995), although this concern is welcome because it enriches the intellectual discourse on relationships and opens it to a diversity of feminist insights, it eventually tends to generate its own one-sidedness.

This is because intimacy is addressed mainly in its privatized and adults-only manifestations, as experienced within a series of quasi-contractual bilateral relationships between grown-ups. This approach supports the equation of intimacy with sexual possibility. The optimistic revaluation of the sphere of intimate relations thus has the inconsistent effect of marginalizing once again the typical experience of women, who frequently find they acting in multiply connected, care-laden social networks bursting with children, aged parents and sundry dependent others. With little time, one might think, for sex.

With the Giddens-Beck- Gernsheim conception, locating it within the rational history of family sociology and the broader theme of modern individualization. The main problem identifies is once again that the effort to confine the lived experience of family life within a uniform tendency of individualized and democratized existence falls foul of the experiential evidence and fails to do justice to all the countervailing forces, including values, solidarities and material circumstances.Sociologists have used the idea of individualization to refer to the way in which people’s lives have come to be less forced by tradition and customs and more subject to individual choice. This in turn can simply be understood against the background of changes in the labor market and in social condition by the modern welfare state in particular.

Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim (1999:54) has described the effects of individualization on the family in terms of a district of need’ becoming ‘an elective relationship’. The family used to be held jointly by obligations based on solidarity and need, but also by the influential prescriptions flowing from prevalent acceptance of the male breadwinner model, with its thought of men bearing prime responsibility for earning and women for caring. Women’s increased participation in the labor market in particular has battered this model at the level of behavior and even more at the level of prescription. As Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (1995) have argued, it has become hard to mesh the labor market biographies of two adults with the demands of family life.

According to them, the current emotional culture (with its particular dictionary and bible) on the one hand, and the social perspective on the other, a society often presents its members with an inconsistency—an apparent negation that underneath is not a contradiction but a cross-pressure.The present-day western absurdity of love is this. As never before, the modern culture invites a couple to seek to a richly communicative, intimate, playful, sexually fulfilling love. We are invited not to prevaricate our bets, not to settle for less, not to succumb to pragmatism, but, emotionally speaking, to ‘aim high’.

At the same time, however, a framework of high divorce wordlessly warns us against trusting such a love too much. Thus, the culture ever more invites us to ‘really let go’ and trust our feelings. But it also cautions: ‘You’re not actually safe if you do. Your loved one could leave.

So don’t trust your feelings.’ Just as the advertisements saturating American television evoke ‘la belle vie’ in a dilapidated economy that denies such a life to many, so the new cultural permission for a rich, full, fulfilling love-life has risen just as new uncertainties subvert it.The family has become fetishized, and love, as that which shows the way to families, elevated in significance. Economic reasons for a man and a woman to join their lives jointly have grown less significant, and emotional reasons have grown more important.

Additionally, modern love has also become more pluralistic. What the Protestant Reformation did to the domination of the Catholic Church, the sexual and emotional revolution of the last thirty years has done to romantic love. The superlative of heterosexual romantic love is now a somewhat smaller model of love within an expanding pantheon of valued loves, each with its supporting subculture. Gay and lesbian loves can, in several subcultures, enjoy full recognition; single career women now have a rich cultural world in which a series of proscribed affairs mixed with warm friendships with other women is protected as an exciting life.

Some of this diversification of love expands the social groups of people ‘eligible’ to experience romantic love, whereas some of it provides alternatives. But on the whole, the idyllic of romantic love has increased its influential grip by extending and adapting itself to more populations.Paradoxically, they further assert while people feel freer to love more fully as they wish, and to belief love as a basis of action, they also feel more frightened to do so because love often fades, dies, is replaced by a ‘new love’. The American divorce rate has risen from about 20 per cent at the turn of the century and stands now at 50 per cent, the highest in the world.

Norms that used to apply to American youth teenagers in the 1950s, ‘going steady’, breaking up, going steady again with another, now pertain to the adult parents of children. The breakup rate for cohabiting couples is high still. In addition, more women raise children on their own, and more women have no children.These combined trends present our young bride with a tease.

Though, Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (1995) is stimulated by the image of a greater love, but sobered by its ‘incredible lightness of being’. The undertaking of expressive openness is undercut by the fear of loss. For so as to dare to share our innermost fears, we need to feel safe that the individual we love, the person dear to us, perhaps a symbol of ‘mother’ in the last instance, is not going to leave.;Compare and ContrastGiddens’ notion of “the pure relationship” has been subjected to substantial criticism.

Rather it is another cultural theme that helps us to comprehend the particular character and meanings of affairs in late modernity. Something similar can also be said of Beck and Beck-Gernsheim’s evenly well-discussed theme of “individualization.” This is a somewhat broader theme than Giddens’ notion of the “pure relationship” though there are clearly affinities:Lovers… have to form their own rules and taboos; there is an infinite number of private systems of love, and they have their magic power and splits up as soon as the couple ceases to act as priests worshipping their belief in each other” (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim, 1995, p. 180).

This particular account of “modern love” is associated to their wider discussions of “individualization” through the thought of individuals being requisite to shape their own biographies. They do this, making use of whatever material or cultural resources they have on hand, not simply in the context of interpersonal relationships but also in terms of other matters such as work or employment. The seeming absurdity that people are “condemned to individualization” is discovered in a more recent elaboration (Beck & BeckGernsheim, 1995).The links between this discussion and the idea of the “pure relationship” are moderately straightforward although one might identify a restrained difference of emphasis between them.

The “pure relationship” might be viewed, as Giddens tends to view it, as part of a wider procedure of the democratization of individual relationships. Clearly such relationships are, absurdly perhaps, also highly individualized. The element of force enters into it when it is argued that, in a sense, people are anticipated to seek and derive satisfaction and completion from interpersonal, dyadic relationships. This leads to an unsettled pressure at the heart of such relationships, between identity and stability.

Giddens portrays productively being a couple as maintaining an extent of individual independence within a couple relationships rather than falling into an over-dependence or detrimental codependence that stifles personal growth. Nevertheless he presents an extent of exclusivity as consistent with both personal growth and the continuation of the couple relationships, through building the strength of trust and intimacy suitable to “the pure relationship.”Giddens (1992) links the worthing of intimacy with the growth in equality between men and women in current decades, with a growing democratization of the private sphere. For Giddens, the valuing of intimacy is a means of expropriating emotional ties from which members of contemporary societies have become detached.

Approaching the trend from a different angle, Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (1995) also note that intimacy has eminence in late modern society, but for these theorists the valorization of intimacy is a reaction to a more and more impersonal social universe.The challenge is to distinguish whether the current status of intimacy is linked with an expropriation of emotional ties, in accordance with Gidden’s argument, or with the valorization of connection, in the face of a drought of attachments, in accordance with the argument of Beck and Beck Gernsheim.Beck and Beck-Gernsheim’s analysis (1995), builds upon theories of modernity, appears to fit with the AIDS-related data. These data suggest that the elite, monogamous relationship is symbolized as that place in which all is potentially good and perfect.

While Giddens account corresponds with that of members of the Frankfurt School (e.g. Fromm, 1956), proposed that uniting with others via genuine relationships is a way of maintaining wisdom in the face of modernity, Beck and Beck-Gernsheim view the search for the authentic relationship as one of the illusion of late modernity.According to Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, late modern life engenders unparalleled levels of anxiety, even when compared with contemporary conditions of alienation.

The media, in its distribution of a wide array of medical and other technologies, makes members of society attentive of an ever-increasing number of risks. Choices should be made concerning such risks. One only has to think concerning the recent advances in the field of genetics to understand the explosion of choices which face the individual. Each choice forces one to face one’s likelihood of being affected by a threat.

One of the ways in which we offset the anxiety generated by contemporary life is by seeking out trusting relationships. Love is our unconventional to doubt. It expresses the hope of finding security.The sense of security in late modernity is not surprised only by the augmented sense of threat, but by the decreased support networks.

In the past, responses to anxiety have included the seeking out of religion and of family support. Yet customary kinship ties have been severed: whereas in pre-industrial societies marriage was a blending of two families or clans, in modern Western society partners are selected in terms of personal wishes and intuitions, according to a idea of ‘falling in love’. This frees people from tradition, to pursue a multitude of way of life choices, while concurrently undermining the sense of ‘home’ obtainable by a close-knit society. Not only is there a loss of family-derived constancy, but a loss of the religious support once offered by religion.

With the decline in the belief in God, only people can proffer existential meaning. In fact Beck and Beck-Gernsheim suggest that in a similar fashion to a longing for deliverance via religion, there is currently a desire for rescue via affection. Intimate relationships take in the role of religion in giving people a place of sanctuary. Love grants meaning to life in a post-Christian, late contemporary society.

Since the social environment has become ‘chilly’ and filled with escalating uncertainty and risk, the desire for deliverance via intimacy has become famous:The direction in which contemporary developments are taking us is reflected in the way we idealize love. Glorifying it in the way we do acts as a balance to the losses we feel in the way we live. If not God, or priests, or class, or neighbors, then at least there are still You. And the size of ‘You’ is inversely proportional to the emotional void which otherwise seems to prevail.

(Beck and Gernsheim, 1995: 33)Romantic attitudes have been found to be extremely correlated with the quality of the relationship—love, fulfillment, and commitment—for both men and women.Building up a new relationship, or retaining the previous one, is an investment based on the hope of gaining more happiness. The investment theory on the permanence of a relationship states that the greater the number of investments in the relationship (e.g.

, children, shared possessions, years together), the greater its firmness. For women, partner-specific investments have been argued to be very vital because female reproductive success is supposed to exploit the offspring’s chances of survival (Beck ; Beck-Gernsheim, 1995).According to Giddens’ (1992) analysis, the “pure” relationship should preferably be based on pure feeling and satisfaction. Such a relationship might not last long because emotions change from time to time and fervor may fade.

This is not a great trouble if the investments in the relationship have been low. But if the partners have mutual possessions and children, and perhaps a remarkably good love relationship, they usually wish for the continuance of the relationship. Faithfulness of the partner might give extra security for its maintenance.Because love is spoken in sexuality, faithfulness of the partner designates that he or she is still willing to prolong to invest in the relationship and that there is no serious risk of a contending relationship.

If the relationship were to be completed, finding a new good partner would be time consuming and need new investments. In this case the investments detailed to the former relationship would be lost, at least partly.The stories non-heterosexuals tell also have insights for ideals and principles that are becoming more common in the broader culture. In his discussion of changing patterns of intimacy, Beck & Beck-Gernsheim (1995) suggested that there has been a long-term shift toward the ideal of the democratic relationship between men and women, men and men, and women and women.

At the middle of this ideal is the fundamental belief that love relationships and partnerships must be a matter of personal choice and not of arrangement or tradition. And the reasons for choice are quite obvious: personal attraction, sexual wish, mutual trust, and compatibility. People stay together simply so long as the relationship fulfils the desires of the partners.This is what Giddens (1992) called the pure relationship, based on less romantic, more practical notions of love, which entails an openness to the other which is dependent on equality and mutual trust, but also on a enthusiasm to up and go when things go wrong:A situation where a social relation is entered into for its own sake, for what can be resultant by each person from a sustained relationship with another; and which is continued only in so far as it is thought by both parties to bring enough pleasure for each individual to stay within it.

(Giddens, 1992, p. 58)The real point, however, is that though the reality is often composite the ideals associated with the pure relationship have turn into measures by which people seek to judge their own individual lives. From this point of view, it can be argued that heterosexual and nonheterosexual types of lifestyles are converging somewhat. For both sides of the sexual binary divide there is a general interest in trying to find a balance between individual happiness and mutual involvement.

This is not the disintegration of commitment. It is, we believe, the search for a new form of emotional democracy. The stories about new ways of “doing” sexual and disturbing commitments that we have considered here can be seen as everyday efforts at attaining this ideal.Thus, discussion of “pure relationships” and “individualization” mean that deceitfulness has become more or less significant? If we take these ideas at their face value then we may expect that adultery becomes less a source of moral denunciation or stigmatization.

Certainly, the very word has an old-fashioned air about it.We might conclude that writers like Giddens and Beck are right. But it may be that what is being destined is less the sexual aspect of adulterous relationships and more the sense of unease and doubt created by such relationships—outside a minority of “open” marriages perhaps. Idea of the tension between identity and steadiness within marriage may help us understand this seeming paradox.

Put another way, we are not simply concerned with the practice or occurrence of adultery but with the framework of meaning within which these practices are formed and given meaning.Reference:Beck, U. and Beck-Gernsheim, E. (1995) The Normal Chaos of Love, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Giddens, A. (1992). The transformation of intimacy. Cambridge, UK: Polity.Lynn Jamieson Intimacy, negotiated non-monogamy and the limits of the couple Avalaible At: 

Cite this page

Love and relationship in `society`. (2017, Mar 26). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront