Timothy Jones writes:
Conference Report: New Histories of Love and Romance, c. 1880-1960.
On 25 May, History and the Centre for Gender Studies in Wales hosted a one-day conference at the Cardiff Story Museum interogating current directions of research in modern love. Twelve papers were given and over thirty scholars participated. Critical differences emerged in the understandings of modern love derived from fiction, autobiography, legal and psychological sources. It was also apparent that chronologies of romantic modernity different in different class contexts, between the provincial and the metropolitan, were resisted by a range of political and psychological discourses, and problematised by different life stages. Keynote speaker, Professor Lynne Pearce argued that the character of romantic love shifted over the course of the twentieth century from being a ‘means rather than an end’ to being a form of self fulfilment that was an end in itself. Claire Langhamer argued that this shift to love being a valorised ‘end in itself’, while marking the triumph of a self-consciously modern ideal of love, also acted to destabilise these very social relations even as it emerged. As Marcus Collins reflected, these conclusions mark a dramatic transition from the state of the field when he published Modern Love ten years ago.
Our contributor Lena Gunnarsson has a new publication out:
“Love – Exploitable Resource or ‘No-Lose Situation’? Reconciling Jónasdóttir’s Feminist View with Bhaskar’s Philosophy of Meta-Reality”, Journal of Critical Realism, 2011, http://www.equinoxpub.com/JCR/article/view/9228
“The Enduring Love? research project is an exciting development in the study of personal and family lives in contemporary Britain. Much recent policy, academic and professional research has focused on the causes and effects of relationship breakdown, but many heterosexual and same sex couples also remain together for significant periods of time. In some ways, then, these couples appear to sit outside a growing tendency towards serial or transitory relationships. To understand more about couples who stay together, our research will focus on the meanings and everyday experiences of long-term relationships. However we will not be presupposing that such relationships are uniformly loving or straightforwardly associated with contentment. The project will rather be concerned with what helps people sustain relationships and how cultural myths, such as finding ‘the one’ and living ‘happily-ever-after’, are understood and reconciled by adult couples whose own relationships may fall short of these romantic ideals.”
An interesting book by Meg Barker:
“Rewriting the Rules is a book examining the complicated – and often contradictory – advice that is given about relationships. It is a friendly guide through attraction and sex, monogamy and conflict, break-up and commitment.
Rewriting the Rules asks questions such as: which to choose from all the rules on offer? Do we stick to the old rules we learnt growing up, even though they don’t completely fit? Or do we try something new and risk being out on our own and seen as a freak? And what about the times when the rules we love by seem to make things worse rather than better?
This website provides extra information about the topics covered in the book, including further reading, useful links, and posts on related topics.
The book, Rewriting the Rules, will be out in August 2012, published by Routledge, and available through their website and on Amazon. You can read a summary of the book here.
The book, and this blog is written by me, Meg Barker. I’m a senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University and also a sex and relationship therapist. This website also gives information about my other research and writing as well as talks and training that I do.”