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Title: Love and its vicissitudes : a psychosocial inquiry
Author: Brown, Joanne Clare
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2003
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The aim of my thesis is to contribute a greater understanding to the psychosocial study of emotion, by specifically developing a psychosocial approach to love and intimacy. I provide examples of how to define Psychosocial Studies and I discuss the intellectual challenges that this interdisciplinary approach raises. I also offer personal reflections on the dilemmas that this subject area and an academic thesis on love catalysed. I detail the deconstruction of romantic love in sociology, feminism, existentialism, Lacanian psychoanalysis and cultural theory. I refer to this as an 'impossibilist' paradigm of romantic love. I situate this deconstruction of love in the context of contemporary debates regarding the identity crises of late modernity. I compare this impossibilist paradigm of romantic love with a new conceptualisation of love and intimacy in sociology. I argue that sociology, Freudian and object relations psychoanalysis provide us with re-worked definitions of love, which deconstruct the narrative of romance, without declaring love to be impossible. I look at the similarities and differences between what I refer to as these possibilist discourses of love and intimacy. While both sociological and psychoanalytic discourses present possibilist views of love, I argue that object relations psychoanalysis is better able to acknowledge impossibilist views of love and intimacy. Nevertheless I show that sociology is an indispensable tool for critically questioning the ahistorical conceptualisation of intimacy found in object relations psychoanalysis. A discursive dialogue is created between the sociological, philosophical and psychoanalytic perspectives presented and their theories of love are applied to and, in some cases, interrogated by empirical material collected by means of a narrative method. To explore the relationship between discourses of love and changing social formations, I have used a methodological approach that combines existing modes of biographical research with new psychosocial modes of analysis. My work therefore provides an exemplification of a psychosocial approach in both theory and method, through the study of love and intimacy. My work specifically develops a psychosocial approach to biographical studies and uses insights from the psychoanalytic method of infant observation. I offer reflections on points of comparison and difference in psychoanalytic and sociological interpretive methods. At the same time the thesis contributes towards contemporary debates about the nature of modernity, by specifically focusing on conceptualisations of love and new cultural discourses of intimacy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Romance