The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis

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For example, in her calls for a queered psychology, Katharine Johnson suggests that hybrid theorising and transdisciplinarity are central. These are not often found under the rubric of queer research, but they are nonetheless queering. This could prove invaluable in becoming a vantage point, enabling us to see opportunities for queering our imaginaries.

As mentioned previously, it is in these identities we are likely to hold the deepest of investments.

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Yet, at present, the significant capacity that relationship statuses have for ordering life e. There has not been the same emphasis on the relationship between neoliberalism and broader cultures of intimacies in critical social psychology that has captured sociologists from the s onwards. We might ask then, how can critical social psychology help investigate questions about cultures of individualisation and the psy complex, which encourage us to understand ourselves as unique, autonomous, and authentic?

And, how do these mooted changes in subjectivity affect our personal relationships? Simultaneously, do we experience an aversion to the permanency of these romantic relationships Bauman, ? Is this contradictory push and pull experienced in our friendships Bauman, ? In their detailed analysis, critical social psychologists can draw from sociological work by considering the significance and scale of cultural shifts in intimacy.

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Sociologists in turn might want to borrow from the toolbox of the critical social psychologist in elaborating on emerging forms of intimate subjectivities. Next, after detailing a small selection of Nikolas Rose's theorising on neoliberal intimate subjectivities, I put forward some suggestions about how sociological research could be bolstered by psychosocial theory.

As Stephanie Taylor demonstrates, the field of psychosocial research is diverse, but is brought together through an interest in the connections between subjectivities and societies. In what follows, I make use of and explain the advantages of discursive and narrative traditions of psychosocial analysis Mcavoy, ; Scully, ; Taylor, ; Wetherell, , but there are other forms of psychosocial research which sociologists could use Taylor, Rose asserts that a therapeutic ethic has only been effective in instilling neoliberal aspirations of constant improvement through inspection and regulation of self, because people have reformed particular relations with the self Rose, The knowledge of psy are diffuse, but our personal relationships are a primary site for exercising the choice and flexibility that is bound up in the neoliberal mandate, and confessions in the private sphere are understood as a key route to an authentic self Rose, Psychoanalytic concepts such as trauma and shame have been productively reworked to explain how neoliberalism has taken a hold in contemporary western society Layton, ; , and to show the stubbornness of gender inequalities through women's internalisation of them Seu, However, the ordinary quality of affective practices that reproduce neoliberal subjectivities tends to get lost in such work Wetherell, , p.

For example, Julie McLeod and Katie Wright interpret desires for disclosure as part of complex emotional strategies carried out by economically marginalised mothers and daughters What then might critical social psychologists add to these detailed, situated, and thoughtful accounts?

Whilst there is attention paid to biographical narratives and embodiment in some of these analyses, there is less detailing of the processes of identification and subjectification involved. Brownlie's account, in particular, shows common ground with psychosocial analysis. Brownlie also centrally engages with a concern circulating in psychosocial studies Taylor, —the problems of studying affect and emotion in the unspoken. Similar to my suggestions about how the family practices perspective in sociology could be extended, sociological work examining changes in emotional subjectivities could usefully include more developed theorising on the plural and distributed nature of identities Bruner, These shed light on how different versions of self become shaped by multiple histories, that layer, are performed through character, motives, intentions, and beliefs, and are psychological and emotional in character Wetherell, In this way, people can be treated as inseparable from the neoliberal contexts in which they are produced, whilst recognising capacity for resistance, engendered through a discursive psychosocial approach, and a focus on process and emergence Taylor, My aim has been to promote discussion about existing nodes, intersections, and divergences between critical social psychological projects related to personal life and across into a sociology of personal life.

It was not my goal to provide a comprehensive overview of an existing work or a prescriptive proposal for critical social psychological studies of personal life. Despite uncertainty and messiness, it is my hope that pockets of knowledge would form around different types of social practices, carried out by researchers with various similarities or differences in standpoints and disciplines, which intersect with other interests e.

As well as making distinct critical social psychological impacts more visible within the increasingly interdisciplinary field of intimacy and personal life, conceiving intimate life as linking fields of practices would improve our abilities to track change or stasis between our local study sites, leveraging their significance. Through three interrelated fields of practice and neighbourhoods of literature, I hope to have demonstrated why it is important that we put emphasis on the assumptions about the organisation of personal life and their effects. Our identities as sexual beings and family members matter.

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But we must always keep in mind that they matter in a range of nonsexual, nonfamilial contexts; they need to be contextualised within the broader ideological sphere of intimate relating. In addition, increasingly, new forms of togetherness also require our attention. Keeping disciplinary boundaries porous can help us to be responsive to emerging intimate formations and subjectivities. As per my discussions on building a queered, interdisciplinary agenda for personal life, how we imagine our disciplinary boundaries and our academic communities can have significant effects in increasing inclusivity in various ways.

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Underpinning my suggestions, however, are more fundamental principles, central to both critical social psychological thinking and queer thinking—plurality, creativity, reconfiguring, blending, and the porosity of discourses. Dynamic intermixing should be a focus, even when examining regimes as omnipresent and pervasive as neoliberalism. Of course, there may be times when we wish to emphasise elements of our work that are unrelated to matters of care, intimacy, and the organisation of personal life, and others still when it is more appropriate to emphasise interdisciplinary differences rather than similarities.

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But given the important contributions critical social psychologists make to studies of intimacies and personal life, the overlaps with sociological work and our emergence into a changed landscape of intimate relating and emotional formations, there is also good reason to cast a different eye on current disciplinary boundaries. Many thanks to Margaret Wetherell for advice, support, and feedback on earlier versions, to Virginia Braun for guidance, and to Nilima Chowdhury for providing feedback on an earlier version.

I gratefully acknowledge the support from a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship. Maree Martinussen is a doctoral candidate in critical social psychology at the University of Auckland. Volume 13 , Issue 1. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Maree Martinussen Corresponding Author E-mail address: m.

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Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Abstract Singleness, parenting, sexual practices, sibling rivalries, through to meal times, investigating how intimacies and personal lives are organised have always been a mainstay in critical social psychology. Abeyasekera, A. Google Scholar.

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Crossref Google Scholar. Wiley Online Library Google Scholar. Volume 13 , Issue 1 January e References Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure. Never shall I forget watching as, three days after Flo's death, Flint climbed slowly into a tall tree near the stream. He walked along one of the branches, then stopped and stood motionless, staring down at an empty nest.

After about two minutes he turned away and, with the movements of an old man, climbed down, walked a few steps, then lay, wide eyes staring ahead. The nest was one which he and Flo had shared a short while before Flo died…in the presence of his big brother [Figan], [Flint] had seemed to shake off a little of his depression. But then he suddenly left the group and raced back to the place where Flo had died and there sank into ever deeper depression…Flint became increasingly lethargic, refused food and, with his immune system thus weakened, fell sick. The last time I saw him alive, he was hollow-eyed, gaunt and utterly depressed, huddled in the vegetation close to where Flo had died…the last short journey he made, pausing to rest every few feet, was to the very place where Flo's body had lain.

There he stayed for several hours, sometimes staring and staring into the water. He struggled on a little further, then curled up—and never moved again. Goodall , pp. Many animals display grief at the loss or absence of a close friend or loved one. One vivid description of the expression of grief is offered above— Goodall observing Flint, an eight and one-half-year old chimpanzee, withdraw from his group, stop feeding, and finally die after his mother, Flo, died. The Nobel laureate Konrad Lorenz observed grief in geese that was similar to grief in young children.

Other examples of grief are offered in Bekoff Sea lion mothers, watching their babies being eaten by killer whales, squeal eerily and wail pitifully, lamenting their loss. Dolphins also have been observed struggling to save a dead infant. Elephants have been observed to stand guard over a stillborn baby for days with their head and ears hanging down, quiet and moving slowly as if they are depressed.

Orphan elephants who have seen their mothers being killed often wake uscreaming. Poole claims that grief and depression in orphan elephants is a real phenomenon. McConnery quoted in McRae , p. Courtship and mating are two activities in which many animals regularly engage.

Many animals seem to fall in love with one another just as humans do. Heinrich is of the opinion that ravens fall in love. He writes Heinrich , p. It is as if partners need to prove their worth to the other before they consummate their relationship. While courting, Aphro female and Butch male continuously touched flippers, began a slow caressing motion with them, rolled towards each other, briefly locked both sets of flippers as in a hug, and then rolled back up, lying side-by-side.

They then swam off, side-by-side, touching, surfacing, and diving in unison. He asks, could this not be leviathan love? Many things have passed for love in humans, yet we do not deny its existence, nor are we hesitant to say that humans are capable of falling in love.

The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis
The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis
The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis
The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis
The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis
The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis
The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis
The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis The Possibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis

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