By Joanne Brown (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230501516

ISBN-13: 9780230501515

ISBN-10: 1349544590

ISBN-13: 9781349544592

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To be modern is to be part of a universe in which, as Marx said ‘all that is solid melts into air’. (p. 15) According to Berger and Kellner (1964), in Berman’s second phase of modernity, the industrial revolution created a situation in which individuals had to turn to the private sphere for self-realisation,34 which Modern Love 39 they characterise as the last area of private choice in a vast, impersonal public sphere. The public/private split which industrial life instituted thus inaugurated a search for a sense of freedom and choice within the confines of a private world.

11). Thus, these two people try to stabilise each other’s sense of self and identity and construct a mutually shared reality, which is according to Berger and Kellner a precarious undertaking. 35 They maintain that the world is most often experienced as an ‘external datum, a ready-made world that simply is there for us to go ahead and live in’ (p. 3). Objectifying the world and marriage: serves to establish the stability of this world and at the same time to assuage the existential anxiety that, probably, inevitably accompanies the perception that nothing but one’s narrow shoulders support the universe in which one has chosen to live.

It is therefore the textuality of romance which we see being emphasised in the 1980s–1990s feminism, rather than the material powerlessness (or stupidity – see Greer, 1970) of women. Pearce and Stacey, for example, refer to romantic love’s ‘scripting possibilities’ and argue that it offers room for self-exploration, and Radway and other writers emphasise the oppositional themes of justice and revenge in their theories of why women read romances. The romantic love story or song, they maintain, offers fantasy resolutions to present material circumstances and the consumption of romance is therefore expressive of the ‘dreams of the oppressed’.

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A Psychosocial Exploration of Love and Intimacy by Joanne Brown (auth.)


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