The LOVE RESEARCH NETWORK is a network of researchers from a variety of disciplines including literary and film studies, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and social sciences.
In our collaborative and comparative 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?
It is time to reassess what love means in our present.
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This blog is maintained by Professor Michael Gratzke (University of Hull, UK).
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.
Juan Anzola is a PhD candidate at the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham.
Eirini Arvanitaki is Associate Tutor in English Language at Edge Hill University.
Meg-John Barker is Senior Lecturer in Psychology in the Department of Psychology in Social Sciences at the Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
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.
Amy Burge is a teaching fellow in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh and book review editor for the Journal of Popular Romance Studies.
Dr Natàlia Cantó Milà is an associate professor at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in Barcelona.
Jennifer Cooke is Senior Lecturer in English at Loughborough University, UK.
Meike Dackweiler is a doctoral candidate in Contemporary German Literary Studies and a member of the Graduate School ‘Ageing: Cultural Concepts and Practical Realisation’ of the Heinrich-Heine University (Düsseldorf, Germany).
Robin Dunbar is Professor of Evolutionary PSychology at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of the British Academy, and co-Director of the British Academy’s Centenary Research Project.
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.
Elena Fronk is a PhD Candidate at the Graduate School for Arts and Social Sciences and the Centre for Gender and Diversity at Maastricht University.
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 Associate Professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where she teaches Pragmatics.
Michael Gratzke is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at University of Hull, UK.
Renata Grossi is a fellow at the Freilich Foundation at the Australian National University.
Lena Gunnarsson is a researcher in Gender Studies at Örebro University, Sweden.
Chris Harris is Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Hull, UK.
Joachim Harst is a research assistant and teaching fellow in Comparative Literature at Bonn University, Germany.
Christopher Hartney is a lecturer in the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney.
Eva Illouz is Full Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
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 Senior Lecturer in German at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.
Timothy Jones is lecturer in History and co-director of the Centre for Gender Studies in Wales at the University of Glamorgan, and ARC DECRA fellow at La Trobe University, Melbourne.
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.
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)
Kaarina Määttä is the Professor of Educational Psychology and Vice-rector of the University of Lapland, Finland.
Ania Malinowska is Lecturer in Literary and Cultural Studies at the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia in Poland.
Simon May is Visiting Professor of Philosophy at King’s College, London, UK.
Rimple Mehta is is an Assistant Professor at the School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata and is also pursuing a Ph.D there.
Robert J. Miles is Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the University of Hull, UK.
Tony Milligan is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.
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.
Katherine Natanel is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London.
Daniel Nehring is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Worcester, UK.
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.
Jools Page is a Lecturer in Early Childhood Education (ECE) at the University of Sheffield where she directs postgraduate courses in ECE in the UK and overseas in Malta.
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 is a University of Technology, Sydney (creative arts) doctoral candidate in journalism.
Mercedes Pöll is a PhD candidate based in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Leeds, UK.
Martin Purcell is a Senior Lecturer / Course Leader (Youth & Community Work) in the School of Education at the University of Huddersfield, and a member of HudCRES (the Centre for Research in Education & Society).
Deborah Rodriguez is a doctoral student, as well as a part time Lecturer and Research Assistant in the Psychology Department at Middlesex University
Rodriguez Salazar is Professor in the Department of Social Communication, at Universidad de Guadalajara, in México
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.
Kaveri Qureshi is a Research Fellow in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford.
Annie Ring is a Research Fellow and Acting Director of Studies in Modern and Medieval Languages (German) at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, UK.
Philip Roscoe is a Lecturer 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.
Linnell Secomb is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Greenwich, UK.
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 IASPR’s journal, the Journal of Popular Romance Studies.
Reenee Singh is a Consultant Systemic Psychotherapist/Research Specialist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.
Agata Stasińska is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences, Warsaw University.
Johanna Spiers is a Research Associate in the School of Social and Community Medicine at Bristol University
John Storey is Professor of Cultural Studies and Director of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at University of Sunderland, UK.
Katherine Twamley is a John Adams Research Fellow at the Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.
Satu Uusiautti (PhD in education) works as a researcher at the University of Lapland, Finland, and is an adjunct professor of educational psychology at the University Helsinki, Finland.
Jenny van Hooff is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Sandra Vlasta is a researcher in the project “Literature on the Move” at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Austria.
Susanne Vosmer is a clinical tutor for the Clinical Psychology Doctorate (ClinPsyD) programme at the University of Hull.
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.
Eleanor Wilkinson is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Southampton, UK.
Beverley Winn is a doctoral candidate in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom.
Mirjam Zadoff is Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington (USA)