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Ontological Uncertainty and the Relationship of “Dislike” Review of the Book by E. Illuz “Why Does Love Go Away? Sociology of Negative Relations”. Moscow; Berlin: Directmedia Publishing, 2022. 352 p. 56
The reviewed book presents a sociological view of the modern dynamics of partnership relations and is a meaningful continuation of the author’s previously published work “Why does love hurt? Sociological explanation” (2020), which fixed on extensive theoretical and empirical material the main paradox of our contemporary’s daily life — the presence of a high value of love relationships for self-identification and at the same time extremely weak expression of the feeling of love itself due to increasing emotional coldness and alienation in interpersonal relationships. And therefore, it is natural that now the focus of attention is on the actual social and psychological reasons for avoiding love as such, as well as the search for answers to the question of how and why following the values of freedom of choice of a partner has turned into demands for freedom to exit from a relationship of intimacy, asserting the actual absence of love. From the point of view of E. Illuz, the basis of such a transformation, which sets at the individual level the experience of a constant conflict between independence and attachment, is the so-called “negative sociality”: the growing ontological uncertainty as the leading experience of our contemporary is based on life in a society governed by sexual freedom. Thus, the formation of negative partnerships without obligations (relations of “dislike”), with all the intimacy of its psychological phenomenology, turns out to be a natural consequence of modern social processes: the dynamics of consumption in an information society, the atomization of the social structure, the social devaluation of the female body and sexuality.
Keywords: love, sexuality, freedom, negative choice, ontological uncertainty, sexual devaluation, independence, attachment
Column: Critique and Bibliography