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Title: 'Encountering each other' : love and emotional relationships between men and women in Britain, 1950s-1970s
Author: Brown, Lucy
ISNI:       0000 0004 1870 1075
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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This is a study of the influence of psychological concepts on popular understandings of 'healthy' emotional life. It examines the rise of a discourse of 'emotional maturity' in the 1950s, a psychological concept emphasising emotional control, containment and restraint, and how this was broken down in the 1960s and 1970s by new psychological theories encouraging unrestrained emotional expression and authenticity. It is a story about the rise of a confessional culture which no longer accepted pure release of tension through 'cathartic' divulging of secrets or personal thoughts, but encouraged individuals to engage in continual mutual disclosure and intensely honest conversation to reveal more of themselves, whilst also learning about each other. This was the beginnings of the 'therapeutic culture' we enjoy (or take issue with) today. It is the story of a period when arguing with one's spouse or lover no longer signalled a doomed relationship and the depths of unhappiness, but a 'positive' occurrence to be embraced as a chance to 'grow' as individuals and to achieve intimacy. The argument, indeed, could be presented to the outside world as evidence of a 'strong' relationship. This thesis will trace the beginnings of a societal shift towards privileging male emotionality over the 'stiff upper lip' which would play out in the succeeding decades. Fundamentally, it identifies the time when expectations of marriage and romantic relationships became infused with the desire for 'transparency', a desire which, despite reaching its apotheosis in the 1970s, continues to define the cultural conversation about intimacy today, and which, in its elusiveness, also continues to be an unstable and perhaps 'unattainable' ideal.
Supervisor: Bingham, Adrian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available