In this important book Niklas Luhmann - one of the leading social thinkers of the late 20th century - analyses the emergence of ‘love' as the basis of personal relationships in modern societies. He argues that, while family systems remained intact in the transition from traditional to modern societies, a semantics for love developed to accommodate extra-marital relationships; this semantics was then transferred back into marriage and eventually transformed marriage itself. Drawing on a diverse range of historical and literary sources, Luhmann retraces the emergence and evolution of the special semantics of passionate love that has come to form the basis of modern forms of intimacy and personal relationships.
This classic book by Luhmann has been widely recognized as a work of major importance. It is an outstanding contribution to social theory and it provides an original and illuminating perspective on the nature of modern marriage and sexuality.
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About the Author
Niklas Luhmann was Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Bielefeld University.
Table of Contents
Preface to the English Edition 1
1 Society and Individual 12Personal and Impersonal Relationships
2 Love as a Generalized Symbolic Medium of Communication 18
3 The Evolution of Communicative Capacities 34
4 The Evolution of the Semantics of Love 41
5 Freedom to Love 48From the Ideal to the Paradox
6 The Rhetoric of Excess and the Experience of Instability 58
7 From Galantry to Friendship 76
8 Plaisir and Amour 84The Primary Difference
9 Love versus Reason 94
10 En Route to Individualization 97A State of Ferment in the Eighteenth Century
11 The Incorporation of Sexuality 109
12 The Discovery of Incommunicability 121
13 Romantic Love 129
14 Love and Marriage 145The Ideology of Reproduction
15 What Now? 155Problems and Alternatives
16 Love as a System of Interpenetration 172