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Lecture 5

SOC 107 Lecture 5: Family, Friendship, and Love: Contacts among Intimates - Mar 6, 2017

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Ryerson University
SOC 107
Melanie Knight

SOC 107 - Lecture 5 - Mar 6, 2017 Family, Friendship, and Love: Contacts among Intimates Intimate Relationships in Contemporary Society - The need for intimate relationships is so strong it has given a rise to an industry devoted to helping compatible singles make contacts with one another - Ex: Industry - online dating - Operation Match, the first computer dating business in the US (1960s) - Finding love on the web - Ex:, eHarmony, Tinder, Christian Mingle - Nichification: Blacks, Muslims, Adults, etc - 36% of Canadians between 18-34 use online dating sites - In the 1990s, 1% of relationships began online, in 2009, 20% of hetreosexual relationships began online and 60% homosexual relationships began - Love Online: A report on digital dating in Canada (Brym and Lenton 2010) - 4 main social forces appear to be driving the rapid growth of online dating - A growing proportion of the population is composed of singles - Career and time pressures and increasing - Single people are more mobile due to the demands of the job market - Workplace romance is on the decline - What type of people use online dating websites? - Approximately 1.2 million Canadians have visited an online dating site - 80% of Canadian users are single - Nearly 18% are married or living in common law - More likely to be male, single, divorced, employed in the paid force, urban - US users spent $469.5 million on online dating and personals in 2004, and over $500 million in 2005 - Usage of online dating sites and related services in Canada had grown $6 million per year since 2010 - Microsociology of dating - 53% of people lie on their online dating profile - Ex: about age (more likely women), income (more likely men), weight/height (more likely women) - Online dating vs “live” dating - Communicating online “emphasizes verbal and linguistic cues instead of nonverbal behaviour” - Online interaction also allows for people to overcome some limitations of face-to-face communication - Easier: convenient, people you want, no awkwardness - Society and online dating - Some perceive cyber relationships as “tenuous connections formed by desperate people embarking on their last attempt at a romantic interlude - The Industry - People of all ages devote considerable time thinking about intimate relationships - Advice columns of daily newspapers/social media, tv, film, popular fiction - Love has become a social problem - Urgency, need to be happy, plan, need someone to complete you, needs to be fixed, self help sections (“Love Smart” by Dr. Phil, “The Rules” by Ellen Fein) - Industrialization and urbanization - The idea that human beings require identity-sustaining relationships with intimate others is not new - In 19th century sociological theory concern was expressed that industrialization and urbanization were destroying intimate bonds between individuals - Alexis de Tocqueville’s - Democracy in America (1835) - Prior to the industrial period Canada was essentially an agrarian society - Industrial Revolution (mid 19th cent) - Manual labour was replaced by mechanized mass production - Due to the limited amount of arable land and the overwhelming efficiency of mechanized farming, the increased population could not be dedicated to agriculture - Economic production processes were slowly removed from the home - Modern society is characterized by increased rationality and individuality - People are less well integrated - Relationships between people become more contractual, artificial, and contrived - Ties to primary groups are weaker The Interactionist Perspective on Intimacy - Intimacy as a social construction - Social life would be impossible if there were no general consensus concerning the meanings people give to objects, events, and situations in their lives - if people were not generally agreed on the meanings of symbols - Relationships of love and friendship can only be understood as symbolic of social constructions - What is love? - How do we feel physiologically when we’re in love or we experience passion? - Heartbeat fast/slow, butterflies, sweat, can’t sleep - How do we feel physiologically when we’re scared? - The same type of feelings as love - What distinguishes the two? - Context, interpretation - The definitions given to love/intimacy depend on the values of the society - Love is socially constructed - $13.7 billion this year, up 22% from just 5 years ago - The social meanings of sexual relations/behavior - There is evidence to suggest that culture profoundly affects how people perceive love, how susceptible they are to falling in love and with whom, and why they feel sexual desire - There are wide variations in the kinds of sexual behaviors that are forbidden (beastiality, incest), tolerated (premarital), or encouraged in various cultures - The meanings attached to the body and body parts - Breasts → sexual vs nurture - Elbow → nothing to us but racy if not covered in some places - Socially constructed - Gender and sexuality - Personal choice and indiscriminate sexuality have often been const
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