Some scholars argue that part of the attraction of friendship is that we are allowed to choose and re-choose our friends throughout our lives in a way that would be less acceptable in other forms of social relationships. Other, scholars, however, argue that friendship is a valued form of social relationship, as it offers a more enduring and validating social bond in a world that has now becomes characterised by transitory aspects (e.g. we no longer have jobs for life, marriages increasingly don’t last). Through a reflection of the role friendship plays in your life, discuss these two claims?
Personally, I tend to think of friendship as more than just people you chose to spend your time with outside your family, because quite often family members can be good friends and friends have been known to be more supportive than family members. Budgeon explains “friendships are of moral significance within the practice of post traditional intimacy” and while this is true, it also highlights that friendships are moving away from what is seen as normative. This idea was also touched upon in this week’s lecture by Dr Vogl for example, I too think of my husband as my best friend. The lines of friendship have blurred and he is important to me twofold in that respect. We chose each other, and we have come to rely on each other for support through the good and the bad.
After leaving the workplace to raise my children many of my friendships faded away because I simply did not have the time to nurture them as I focused on my young family, so I can relate to both claims, but I’m leaning towards the first school of thought because of my personal experiences with friendship. As my life was changed drastically when I had my children, I realised the only constant in my life is my husband. I think this will change when I begin to work again and have more interaction with other people.
To what extent are love sex and romance tied to consumer capitalism? And to what extent do they offer ‘realms of freedom’ for self-realization within this framework?
Many would say that sex sells, but so does romance. Women have been targeted for years because generally speaking not many men indulge in romance. When romantic movies are released at the cinemas, the target audience is women. When advert firms want to advertise to women they often chose romance as their theme. This ensures women buy products such as perfume, coffee, shoes and undergarments. What is post modern about this is that women are increasingly looking to other avenues to help them with romance rather than religion guidance (pre modern times), or scientific data (modern times). Instead they are consulting pop culture, magazines, self help books, and TV/Movies and other media.
Recently there has been a dramatic growth in online dating websites. What do you think are the main reasons for this phenomenon? How does this relate to Weber’s idea of ‘rationalisation’?
Weber’s Zweckrational actions with regards to capitalism is all about attaining a goal, financially speaking. With online dating, as people tend to work more they don’t have time to socialise outside work so they look to the Internet for love. It is both convenient and easy to do. Online dating websites have taken this into account and I believe are taking advantage of this phenomenon to make money from people seeking partners online. Dating sites acquire memberships through free profiles, but people must pay to actually see other people’s profiles, send them communications and ultimately meet them.
What are the possible pitfalls as well as opportunities that come with online, intimate connections?
Online dating may be seen as the new way to meet people, and the advantage of this is obvious, there is a wider range of people there than there is in everyday life. Having said that, Dr Blatterer explains in his lecture that too much choice can make normal, perfectly suited people seem standard and be therefore be “undervalued”.
Illouz explains “what makes net romance so incontestably superior to real life relationships is the fact that the net romance annuls the body, thus presumably enabling a fuller expression of one’s authentic self” (2007, 75), in other words people don’t have the need to put on façade and can get right on getting to know each other intimately. However, this is turned around once people meet for the first time, when they see each other’s body and interact physically. I believe this is the most important aspect of a relationship when one realises if you can live and love a person not just emotionally but physically.
Blatterer, H. (2013). Romance and Online Intimacies. [Lecture]. Slides retrieved from http://ilearn.mq.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=1756953
Budgeon, Shelley (2006), Friendship and Forms of Sociality in Late Modernity: The challenge of post traditional intimacy, Sociological Research Online, 11(3). Retrieved from http://www.socresonline.org.uk.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/11/3/budgeon.html
Illouz, E. (2007). Romantic webs. In Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism. Cambrige, Polity Press: pp 74-93
Inglis, D. (2005), Modern Culture and Everyday, in Culture and Everyday Life, New York, Routledge: pp 39-75.
Vogl, G. (2013). Everyday Life and the Significance of Friendship. [Lecture]. Slides retrieved from http://ilearn.mq.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=1756952