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This blog is maintained by Professor Michael Gratzke (University of Dundee, UK).
The LOVE RESEARCH NETWORK is a network of researchers from a variety of disciplines including literary and film studies, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, history and social sciences.
In our research we look at experiences and representations of love. There is no limit to the scope of our work regarding the types of love studied: parental love, romantic love, neighbourly love, patriotism etc.
Many network members focus their research on the present (here labelled ‘the twenty-first century’). This focus does not imply that somehow at midnight of the first of January 2000 a paradigm shift had occurred. Love is durable and it is flexible. It is shaped and reshaped by physiological and psychological constants, by the extremely longue durée of evolutionary processes, by centuries of love doctrines, and by profound changes in society that have occurred in the last century and decades. While we tend to believe in eternal values of love and even eternal love, our experiences often feel new, unprecedented and challenging. This is one of the reason why we have opened our network to historians and other researchers who in their work don’t necessarily draw lines into the present. Equally we invite contributions regarding the potentiality of love and love in the future.
Cultural and political developments since the turn of the century heavily play into this. Love researchers of the 1990s by and large agreed that societies in the Western world had reached a point of comprehensive de-traditionalisation which meant that love had become fully individualised. Any form of dating, courting, cohabitation, serial monogamy, polygamy, living-apart-together, ‘patchwork’ family, and sexual preference for any gender seemed equally valid and equally accessible. Love between consenting adults appeared to be the only surviving form of love in a world in which family bonds and community relations had been eroded by the twin onslaught of commericialisation and democratisation.
Since then we have been witnessing sustained attempts to re-traditionalise the ways in which people relate to each other. Religion has made a grand comeback in society and politics. To give an example, we are in the midst of debates what marriage means and who should have the power to define its meaning for the wider community. In the future, is it going to be the state or religious authorities? Is marriage a union of exactly one man and one woman? Why do many gay and lesbian people want to be married with the same rights as heterosexual couples? Does gay marriage somehow corrupt the meaning of marriage? Do gay people who get married ‘betray’ the cause of gay liberation by buying into the social models of heteronormative society? Should marriage be based on choice? Whose choice would that be – the family’s or the individuals’? What causes the massive anxieties of many people in the West regarding arranged marriages? Does romantic love overrule the love for your family? How do ideas of romantic love sit with cultural norms expecting obedience to tradition? What is romantic love in the age of consumer capitalism? Is it more than a commodity sold as escapism to the media-consuming masses? What does love mean in the accelerated exchanges of online and speed dating? How do rational choices on the market place turn into a loving relationship?
Our contributors to date:
Nadje Al-Ali is Professor of Gender Studies in the Centre for Gender Studies, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK
Gaelle Aeby is a research fellow at the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Live at the University of Manchester.
Meg-John Barker is a writer and writing mentor, based in Brighton
Claire Bidart is a Sociologist, Research Director at CNRS, at the Institute of Labour Economics & Industrial Sociology (LEST – UMR 7317), Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, in Aix en Provence, France.
Ann Brooks is a Visiting Professor at the Australian Catholic University, Institute of Religion, Politics and Society, in Sydney in 2018-19.
Amy Burge is a lecturer in Popular Fiction in the Department of English Literature at the University of Birmingham.
Jennifer Cooke is Senior Lecturer in English at Loughborough University, UK.
Lauren Edwards is a PhD student at York University in Toronto, Canada.
Jennifer Evans is Associate Professor of History and Graduate Chair at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada.
Ann Ferguson is Professor Emerita of Philosophy and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Jacqui Gabb is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at The Open University, UK.
Adriana García Andrade is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Unidad Azcapotzalco in Mexico City.
María-Isabel González-Cruz is Full Professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where she teaches Pragmatics.
Michael Gratzke is Professor of Comparative Literature at University of Dundee, UK.
Renata Grossi is a lecturer in law at the University of Technology in Sidney, Australia.
Lena Gunnarsson is a researcher in Gender Studies at Örebro University, Sweden.
Christopher Hartney is a lecturer in the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney.
Saara Jäntti is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Languages at the University of Jyväskylä.
Olu Jenzen is Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Media at the University of Brighton, UK.
Emily Jeremiah is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Gender Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.
Bronach Kane is Lecturer in Medieval History in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University.
Mine Özyurt Kılıç is an Assistant Professor of English Literature at Doğuş University, İstanbul, Turkey.
Estella C. Kuchta is an independent researcher of cultural love trends in contemporary U.S. and Canada.
Leena Kurvet-Käosaar is Associate Professor of Literary Theory at the Institute of Cultural Research and the Arts at the University of Tartu and Senior Researcher at the Archives of Cultural History, Estonian Literary Museum.
Claire Langhamer is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Sussex, UK.
Haiyan Lee is associate professor of Chinese and comparative literature at Stanford University, US.
Kirsty Liddiard is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate within the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield.
Kaarina Määttä is the Professor of Educational Psychology and Vice-rector of the University of Lapland, Finland.
Jane Malcolm is the Policy Manager in Scotland for the National Day Nurseries Association and is currently undertaking a PhD Research Study at the University of Edinburgh called “Love, Passion and Professionalism: The Early Learning and Childcare Professional
Anna Malinowska is Assistant Professor at the University of Silesia, Poland and a former Senior Fulbright Fellow at the New School of Social Research in New York, USA.
Fiona Martinez is a Vice Chancellor Scholarship PhD Candidate at Sheffield Hallam University
Christian Maurer is SNSF research professor in philosophy at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
Simon May is Visiting Professor of Philosophy at King’s College, London, UK.
Rimple Mehta is an Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute for Social Sciences, Mumbai (India).
Tony Milligan is senior researcher in the Philosophy of Ethics with the Cosmological Visionaries project, based out of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College London
Adi Moreno is a PhD student in the Sociology department at the University of Manchester, UK.
Alejandra Moreno-Alvarezis Senior Lecturer of English and Gender Studies at University of Oviedo, Spain.
Daniel Nehring is Associate Professor of Sociology at East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai.
Alex J. Nelson is a PhD candidate in the department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas USA.
Joshua Neoh is a Lecturer in Law at the Australian National University
Jane O’Grady teaches at the London School of Philosophy (she was one of its seven founders), is a Visiting Lecturer in the Social Sciences Department at City University, and writes philosophers’ obituaries for the Guardian.
Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam is Associate Professor of Art History, AarhusUniversity, Denmark.
Dr Jools Page, is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education (ECE) at the University of Brighton and leads the Children, Young People’s Voice and Education Research and Enterprise group in the School of Education.
Lynne Pearce is Chair of Literary Theory and Women’s Writing in the Department of English & Creative Writing at Lancaster University, UK.
Véronique Pin-Fat is Senior Lecturer in international politics at the University of Manchester, UK, and the director of the Manchester Love Research Network.
Jennifer Pinkerton lives in Canberra and recently completed her Doctorate of Creative Arts from the University of Technology in Sidney.
Martin Purcell is a Lecturer in Community Education in the School of Education & Social Work at the University of Dundee
Deborah Rodriguez is a doctoral student, as well as a part time Lecturer and Research Assistant in the Psychology Department at Middlesex University
Minna-Kristiina Ruokonen-Engler is a sociologist, research associate and lecturer in women’s and gender studies at the Institute of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences at Goethe University and a research fellow at the Institute for Social Research Frankfurt, Germany.
Paulina Sabugal has a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the University of Pisa.
She works as Teaching Assistant at Pisa University and collaborates with the European University Institute.
Rodriguez Salazar is Professor in the Department of Social Communication, at Universidad de Guadalajara, in México
Christina Straub is a PhD student in Criminology/Sociology at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Susan Quilliam writes, trains, consults, coaches and broadcasts on the themes of love and sexuality. She is passionate about helping people have the best relationships they can possibly have.
Philip Roscoe is a Reader in the School of Management at the University of St Andrews, UK.
Yvonne Salt is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Sussex
Tuija Saresma is docent of auto/biographical research at the Research Centre for Contemporary Culture, Department of Arts and Culture Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
Swen Seebach is a researcher at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) working on the governmentally funded project Forms of Commitment in Love Relationships and the Expression(s) of Emotions in Times of Electronic Communication.
Eric Murphy Selinger is Full Professor of English at DePaul University in Chicago, US, and Executive Editor of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies.
Reenee Singh is the Chief Executive of the Association of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice
Agata Stasińska is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences, Warsaw University.
John Storey is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies at the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland, UK, and Chair Professor of the Changjiang Scholar Programme, Shaanxi Normal University, China.
Katherine Twamley is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Department of Social Science at University College London, UK.
Jenny van Hooff is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Sandra Vlasta is a postdoctoral Marie-Skłodowska-Curie-Fellow at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz.
Catherine Vulliamy is a PhD student in Gender Studies at the University of Hull, UK.
Justyna Wierzchowska is Assistant Professor in American Studies at the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland.
Matt York is a PhD researcher at the Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork, Ireland.
Mirjam Zadoff is the Director of the NS-Documentation Center Munich in Germany.