chapter  3
19 Pages

Alienation in love

Is mutual love the solution?
ByAnn Ferguson

This chapter develops a theory of the affective economy in order to understand the relation between ideology and practices of contemporary heterosexual love and male domination in the US. The couple love, often identified as romantic love, as an ideal and a relation characterized by social practices. The chapter describes the present conflict in love ideals in advanced capitalist societies, and argues that this has created a historically specific problem of alienation in love, not only for heterosexual couples, but also for LGBTQ love partners. Materialist feminist theorists have attempted to expand Marx's approach to cover the alienated love relations between men and women characteristic of capitalist societies. Love and sexual energies are harnessed together in our contemporary 'affective economy' not only to reproduce children, but to meet ongoing human needs for affection/love and sexual satisfaction. In economic and sociosexual reality, social domination operates through institutions that force the oppressed into exploitative labor and love practices that alienate them.