Angela Maria Toffanin

Between falling in love and dis-illusion. Love experience in life histories on violence and migration

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Romantic Love Models; Gender Violence; Symbolic Violence; Gender Roles; Sociology of Emotions.

Sociological analysis of representations of «romantic love» contributes to investigate further the structures of the field of gender relations, through the study of those «gender strategies» (Hochschild 1995) which are typically performed within the framework of love experience. Drawing from a qualita- tive research on gender violence against women and on women's struggle for recognition in the asymmetric field of gender relations, this study focuses on 36 life histories of women from Central and South America currently living in the North-East of Italy. The article examines different representations of «romantic love», conceived as a «narrative» which bases on characters like «soul mate» and features as the «unique eternal love» (Kipnis 2005). Such narratives, however, play a central role in studies on gender violence within intimate re- lationships (Towns et al. 2000; Walker et al. 1995). Hence, this contribution focuses on the ambiguity of love relationships, shedding light on the tensions between love as «a reversal of masculine domination» on the one hand, and as «the supreme form of symbolic violence» on the other (Bourdieu 1998). The notion of «symbolic violence» (ibidem) combines here with a perspective on the sociology of emotions (Hochschild 2006).

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