Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


A SOCIOLOGIST ON LOVE: Explorations in the Social Construction of Love




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



The study of love and emotions is problematic for sociology. Love is something that cannot be seen or objectively proven. There is no specific facial expression or set of body language that proves love yet it is a near universal belief that is viewed as a foundation for at least one major social institution. Proving its existence or non-existence is not the goal of this paper. I am exploring the belief along with the pernicious and beneficial effects of the belief in love. Social scientists theorize that love is a deep and vital emotion that most people believe in even if they never experience it. Love has taken on more importance in the modern world as a means of forming significant connections and strengthening bonds with others. Love is also a source of social problems. This paper explores the pernicious and beneficial effects of a belief in love through the lens of The Sociology of Knowledge and symbolic interaction. I look at the work that has been done on love paying particular attention to the impact of a belief in love on the social construction of sex and gender in modern society. I make suggestions for future study and suggest challenges implicit in understanding the social construction of love.

Conference Name

2011 SSSP Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Las Vegas, Nevada

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