Support the Café

Search our Site

Love on the Deregulated Market

Love on the Deregulated Market

As leading religious figures like Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, continue to advance a global dialogue on wealth inequality, capitalism, and faith in Jesus Christ, Giles Fraser offers a perspective on love in the deregulated marketplace of late modernity. Ahead of Valentine’s day, Fraser invites us to consider those who may be without a date:

There is a political dimension to the ghastly Valentine’s Day and it goes something like this. The political climate of late modernity is characterised by an emphasis on choice and individual responsibility. And, yes, much good has come of it. Those rules of social engagement that maintained a place for everything and everything in its place were, for the lucky ones, the scaffolding of meaningful lives, and for many more unfortunate others, the forces of repression.

Class is an obvious example. It structured social relationships and provided many with their role in life. Those of us who want to tear down class structures – and I still do – ought nonetheless to face the fact that this deconstruction, precisely because it wipes away a whole social matrix, creates in many an intense form of anxiety about who they are and what they are for. In other words, figuring out one’s role in life becomes an individual responsibility rather than a social given and this presents the individual with a set of pressures that are not uncomplicated…

This should not surprise us if we think of the malaise of late modernity as being one of deracination, rootlessness. In such a context – or should I say lack of context – love easily dwindles to some semi-inarticulate talk of personal chemistry. The idea that we might premise a relationship on so narrow a shelf as this may well account for the number of couples who will be out to dinner next week, furtively searching for something missing in each other’s eyes, and baffled by the fact that they don’t have anything to say to each other. Love requires a broader social infrastructure than the one provided by individual feelings. In other words, when it comes to understanding love, we need less psychology and more sociology. I guess this is why some still argue for the success of arranged marriages. After all, the success rate of love matches is hardly anything to write home about.

For more from Fraser, check out the current edition of the London Guardian’s Loose Canon.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John B. Chilton

What does “put love back in public ownership” mean? I really don’t have a clue.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café