This is also where Bauman’s conception of liquid love becomes useful

This is also where Bauman’s conception of liquid love becomes useful

While it is abundantly clear that not all users are using dating apps with the desire to find their one true love, there is ample evidence–both in this study and others, such as that undertaken by Hobbs et al

However, there is no denying that the conditions of modernity have greatly shaped the way people approach romance. Eva Illouz (1997) argues that the twentieth century saw the emergence of romance being experienced through rituals of consumption, such as dates. Bauman (2003, loc. 1222) contends that the search for a partner itself has become a ritual of consumption, especially in an online space–what he describes as ‘shopping for partners on the internet’. The widespread commitment to the romantic masterplot supports Illouz’s (1997, pp. 2–3) argument that a person’s beloved–or, in popular parlance, ‘the one’–is constructed as ‘unique and irreplaceable’. If someone searching for love is searching for ‘the one’ through the ‘shopping’ mechanism he describes, it is not surprising that bonds formed under these conditions would be deliberately tied loosely, so that they might be escaped quickly should ‘the one’ come along: to ensure, for example, that Mr Right Now can be easily discarded should Mr Right emerge. Thus is born a distinctly modern emotional state, which Bauman (2003, loc. 48) articulates through the image of people:

yearning for the security of togetherness and for a helping hand to count on in a moment of trouble, and so desperate to “relate”; yet wary of the state of “being related” and particularly of being related “for good”, not to mention forever – since they fear that such a state may bring burdens and cause strains they neither feel able nor are willing to bear, and so ; yes, your guess is right – to relate…

This is the result of the mismatch in logics between romantic love and capitalism that Illouz (1997) notes in Consuming the Romantic Utopia. The romantic partner, unlike the trading partner, is not interchangeable. (more…)

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